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Was the job done? Well, what does the contract say, provide for?

This could get ugly.

Well, uglier, actually, given that it is already unquestionably contentious and, given the recent filing of a civil lawsuit for contractual breach, distinctly trending in a direction away from amicability and quick resolution.

Here's what is the uppercase rub for officials from New York City, which has just sued telecommunications giant Verizon (which is of course a huge operator nationally, including in California) in state court: the conglomerate's alleged failure to live up to the terms of a negotiated contract pursuant to which Verizon agreed to install fiber optic cable for all its metro customers.

And here is what has inspired the wrath of Verizon, which is clearly evidenced by a recent communication to city officials: the company's view that the city has misinterpreted the essential meaning of the contract and Verizon's duty under it. The cable/Internet provider says that it has fulfilled its contractual duties "100 percent" and that complying with demands from Mayor Bill de Blasio's office "would impose immeasurable inconvenience and hardship on countless residents and businesses."

At the heart of the dispute seems to be a fundamental difference in views regarding the extremes to which Verizon would go to get the job done. It contends that it was under a reasonable assumption that it would lay out its newer network along already existing lines used for copper connections. New York officials say that the company promised to install cable by any means necessary -- including via new routes and processes -- to get improved access to customers.

As noted above, a state judge now oversees the matter. The court will undoubtedly be subjecting the contract to closest scrutiny for what it reasonably reveals about intent, interpretation and promised performance.

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