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While Verizon has been essentially kicking Sandy victims to the curb, Comcast says it's taking great lengths to get them up and running again. As we've been discussing
, Verizon has been going up and down the coast telling Sandy victims who've been waiting seven months for repairs that they'll never see their DSL lines restored. In their place Verizon is giving them Voice Link, a service that connects home phones to the Verizon Wireless network, but suffers from glitches, doesn't offer data connectivity, and lacks some basic features like named callerID.
In contrast, Comcast issued a press statement today
that highlights a very different strategy in Sandy-devastated areas. According to Comcast, they just got done upgrading 144 miles of infrastructure along the Jersey shore, renovated all local service centers while increasing staff and hours of availability, added 170 technicians to support the region, and are putting these customers first in line for new features like Comcast's new gateway
"We know that Hurricane Sandy complicated life for millions of people, and many of our employees and facilities were affected by the storm," said LeAnn Talbot , senior vice president of Comcast's Freedom Region. "We were here for the Jersey Shore during and immediately after Sandy, we have been here to support since then and will remain as a partner tomorrow and beyond as people and communities work to rebuild."
In contrast, Verizon has been telling a lot of Sandy customers in New York and New Jersey they'll never see a working POTS or DSL line again, and as I exclusively reported this week they're about to bring that bad news to large parts of Sandy-impacted Pennsylvania
. Users there are quickly realizing that heavily-capped wireless is not a substitute for an uncapped fixed residential line.
According to a company insider, additional Verizon customers impacted by Sandy will soon be informed -- some seven months after the fact -- that they too will never have their DSL lines repaired. As we've seen in New York and New Jersey
, the telco is foisting a service upon those customers called "Voice Link," which connects user home phones to the Verizon wireless network.
Verizon's 2011 deal
with the cable industry not only dumped oodles of unused spectrum into Verizon's lap, but it cemented a new, friendly relationship between Verizon and cable companies. That relationship not only involves cable operators bundling Verizon services, but it more quietly involves Verizon nudging DSL users they don't want to upgrade to cable
using price hikes and apathy, raising some significant competitive concerns.
In order to get everyone on board the entertainment industry's recently-launched "six strikes" anti-piracy initiative
, the entertainment industry-run group behind the program (the Center for Copyright Information) repeatedly stated that data collection from the program wouldn't be used for lawsuits. While the MPAA and RIAA so far haven't requested that data, that hasn't stopped copyright trolls from doing so.
Verizon is working with the Bloomberg administration to speed up the deployment of fiber installs beneath the street of New York City. According to Bloomberg
, Verizon will begin testing "micro-trenching" or "saw cutting," which involves cutting shallower-than-usual grooves in the ground for fiber laying (video here
). Verizon will test the installation technology in twelve markets then discuss with the city whether to proceed from there. Verizon signed a franchise agreement in 2008 that is supposed
to bring FiOS to everyone in NYC by the end of 2014 (they're probably currently at around 50% or less). However, the agreement fine print allows Verizon to buy or wiggle their way out of 100% deployment
, which means a lot
of people across the five boroughs are going to wind up disappointed no matter how deeply Verizon digs their trenches.
For several years now the city of Baltimore has been asking
Verizon why they, and several other significant cities like Buffalo, Boston, and Alexandria weren't seen fit to receive FiOS upgrades. Despite half a decade of asking the same question, they still don't seem to be getting any answers.
With the exception of some major cities where they're still adhering to franchise obligations, Verizon's FiOS expansion is over, and Verizon has been making it very clear that they have no interest in those customers remaining on DSL. The company last year returned to forcing new DSL users to subscriber to costly landline service
, and now users in our Verizon DSL forum
say they're being notified that yet another round of traditional rate hikes have arrived.
Verizon and AT&T want to get out of maintaining or upgrading the tens of millions of DSL users so they can focus on wireless, a move that makes obvious business sense from their perspectives. Verizon Wireless isn't unionized, so Verizon gets rid of union headaches. story continues..
After several significant delays, the entertainment industry and most of the nation's largest ISPs are set to launch their "six strikes" graduated response anti-piracy efforts starting today. Sources familiar with the plan timetable have told both Daily Dot
and Torrent Freak
that six strikes starts today, and a new Center for Copyright Information website
run by the entertainment industry appears to have been freshly launched for the occasion (see new video, below).
Back in 2011 the FCC began collecting real-world user broadband data from customized routers, then issuing reports on which ISPs were failing to deliver advertised speeds. It's one of the few FCC policies in recent years that has truly paid dividends for consumers. story continues..
Responding to all the attention being given to Google Fiber, Gigabit Squared
, and the FCC's rather hollow recent 1 Gbps challenge
," Verizon's top policy man Link Hoewing proclaims that Verizon is ready and willing to offer 1 Gbps connections
-- as soon as consumer demand warrants. Kind of amusingly, a company that has historically placed all their marketing emphasis on speed, is now trying to argue speed doesn't really tell the whole story.
Given Verizon's FiOS expansion has stopped in most places (unless you're somewhere with franchise obligations), the only way DSL users will be getting FiOS is if your regional core infrastructure is upgraded and
your line is perennially problematic. During yesterday's earnings call Verizon stated
they migrated some 223,000 "troublesome" lines from copper to fiber, most of those in regions impacted by Sandy.
Verizon's fourth quarter 2012 earnings
released this morning show that the telco added a record high f 2.1 million new postpaid wireless subscribers during the quarter for a total of 98.2 million wireless subscribers. Driven by those wireless gains Verizon reached the $30 billion operating revenue mark for the first time in the telco's operating history.
With the entertainment industry's oft-delayed "six strikes" anti-piracy plan finally very close to launch, some ISPs have been willing to talk a little
about the new steps they'll be taking to thwart pirates on their networks. Time Warner Cable gave us the details on their plan last November
, including on-screen click-through warnings and the pushing of "educational" anti-piracy materials.
Speaking at CES yesterday in his first keynote, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam hinted at 1 Gbps FiOS and suggested the company would be speeding up the transfer of "troubled" copper customers to FiOS. Verizon in 2012 made getting users on problematic copper lines
onto FiOS a priority, and it's something the CEO says will speed up this year
Verizon has promised to wire all of New York City with FiOS by 2014, but now says they're running into resistance from landlords, some of whom tell the telco their tenants don't want FiOS. Stop the Cap
directs our attention to the fact that the company has filed a complaint
(pdf) with the New York Public Service Commission.
We've noted several times how Verizon's sale of their DSL and landline assets to Fairpoint and Frontier was strategically brilliant (unless you're one of the impacted customers). Not only did Verizon sell both companies millions of neglected customers and lines they didn't want to maintain or upgrade, the deals offloaded huge amounts of Verizon debt onto these companies (driving Fairpoint into bankruptcy
) while netting Verizon a huge tax write off.
Netflix has once again ranked the best ISPs for streaming content. According to this Netflix blog post
, the company's rankings come from 30 million members viewing over 1 billion hours of Netflix each month.
Verizon has confirmed to Broadband Reports that the company's wireless networks will not be covered by the upcoming "six strikes" anti-piracy initiative. I've been trying to get specifics out of companies concerning how exactly they'll enforce six strikes -- and the majority have chosen to remain mute about what will happen. story continues..
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad