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Regulators Want To Fine Verizon Millions
For quality of service problems in Florida...
by Karl Bode 11:34AM Friday Dec 05 2008 Tipped by Beachie See Profile
While we all love that Verizon is focusing their attention on deploying fiber to the home, that attention hasn't been without cost. The last few years have seen a growing number of allegations that the telco is neglecting their DSL & landline infrastructure to focus on getting into the more lucrative TV business. Union workers say they aren't getting the tools and resources they need to support DSL & landline customers effectively.

Click for full size
Workers have consistently complained that a lack of resources have resulted in a documented spike in customer complaints. Several union workers have told us that over the last few years, ideas like preventative maintenance have been all but abandoned in some markets. State public utility commissions in several of States have supported these allegations, particularly in Florida.

In April, union workers picketed Verizon offices. The state attorney general, Florida's public counsel and the AARP requested regulators fine Verizon $6.55 million for what they called sub par phone service. It now appears that regulators are seriously considering fines of about $4.56 million. Verizon, as you might expect, insists the entire process is unnecessary:
quote:
"There is absolutely no need for the commission to expend the time and resources required to formally investigate Verizon's customer service quality for telephone operations — particularly at a time when the commission is considering changes to the very rules that Verizon allegedly violated."

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jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

They Need More People

Well I have only been a customer for a little over a month, but in that short period I betcha I have heard every single song on their customer support phone system at least twice.
firewire9999

join:2004-07-11
Livonia, MI

AARP ?

I can see the Unions complaining (with tad of grain of salt).

But what does the AARP have to do with it?

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

2 recommendations

Re: AARP ?

Old folks? In Florida? Phones? They like them to work?
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
said by firewire9999:

But what does the AARP have to do with it?
Old folks taking advantage of nearly free lifeline service.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: AARP ?

said by patcat88:

Old folks taking advantage of nearly free lifeline service.
Sheesh. Isn't their getting our social security taxes good enough?
--
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty

Zen6

@rr.com

Re: AARP ?

Lifeline costs them less than 15$/mo.

N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2

No doubt...

I have no doubt Verizon has been neglecting their existing copper plant in order to drive their financial resources into Fios.

Given the economic state of most State & Local governments, I could see them doing something like this (fining them).

The day will come when Verizon abandons it's copper plant in favor of an all Fios network. It's just not worth maintaining 2 networks when the copper plant costs so much more to maintain than the fiber one.

All that copper will be sold off to some secondary provider, and Verizon will be happy to be rid of it.
--
Petty people are disproportionably corrupted by petty power…

re_n30gh

@comcast.net

Re: No doubt...

said by N3OGH:

All that copper will be sold off to some secondary provider, and Verizon will be happy to be rid of it.
Don't forget the fact that they are spending time and money to remove it from the homes as they install fiber (possibly to avoid "some secondary provider")
AVonGauss
Premium
join:2007-11-01
Boynton Beach, FL

Re: No doubt...

I agree that could be a motivation, but the other that comes to mind is no longer having to support an aging infrastructure.

anonon1111100

@verizon.net
They are noit removing the copper outside plant, only removing the copper drop and only buy cutting it at the nid. The copper drop can be easily reinstalled if needed.

Dolgan
Premium
join:2005-10-01
Sun Prairie, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

1 edit
quote:
The day will come when Verizon abandons it's copper plant in favor of an all Fios network. It's just not worth maintaining 2 networks when the copper plant costs so much more to maintain than the fiber one.
That is the crux of the issue now isn't it. Verizon would like to think they can abandon the copper lines; however, they can not do that as the copper lines are a regulated utility and they must maintain them at acceptable service levels--unless them are able to find some sucker like Hawaiian Telecom or Fairpoint to buy those lines.

Verizon has the money to maintain both networks properly, but instead of using it for the Networks the execs choose to take it in bonuses. Can not tell you how many times I have seen "Lack of Manpower/No money in budget for OT" or "No weekend Coverage in this area" as excuses for missing a customer's committments on repair tickets. Pretty funny how there is no money in the budget to properly staff techs and meet customer expectations of service, yet there is always money to pay bonuses and stock dividends every year. The dividends run in the billions of dollars and the bonuses run the 100's of millions of dollars.

The use of the cost of FIOS Deployments as an excuse to not properly maintain the existing infrastructure is all smoke and mirrors by Verizon's PR Dept.
EPS4

join:2008-02-13
Hingham, MA

1 recommendation

Re: No doubt...

Verizon actually has an infinite amount of money, and have no need to cut expenses, they only do it out of sheer hatred for the consumer.
ashworth7

join:2001-10-06
Pittsburgh, PA

Re: No doubt...

You can't be serious, no company has "infinite amounts of money" and makes money on the "sheer hatred for the consumer". Get a grip.

Grail Knight

Premium
join:2003-05-31
Valhalla
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL
·Time Warner Cable
quote:
Verizon actually has an infinite amount of money, and have no need to cut expenses, they only do it out of sheer hatred for the consumer.
I doubt it is done out of hatred for the customer.
How about it simply being about greed and just plain being cheap?

Verizon is out to make money and they certainly know that maintaining POTS is expensive if you just factor in the price of copper let alone time and manpower needed to repair or replace old POTS lines and equipemnt.
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
said by Dolgan:


That is the crux of the issue now isn't it. Verizon would like to think they can abandon the copper lines; however, they can not do that as the copper lines are a regulated utility and they must maintain them at acceptable service levels--unless them are able to find some sucker like Hawaiian Telecom or Fairpoint to buy those lines.
POTS service is regulated and POTS is universal service, but local loop unbundling is "where facilities exist", same way Verizon won't turn a RT customer into a homerun to CO customer for CLEC DSL, Verizon has no obligation to provide a copper loop for unbundling.

Now of course, anyone can pay for the construction charges for a copper loop in an all FIOS area, its just going to cost as much as dark fiber or a T3 in construction costs.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
This is where youre wrong. Verizon FiOS's phone service is POTS, and if they wanted to convert everyone to FiOS, they can. When the majority of homes are wired with FiOS, that 100 year old copper network is coming down... and sold as scrap metal. Remaining phone-only subscribers will have to either schedule a fiOS installation .. even if its only for phone service.. or choose another provider.

Anyone who thinks Verizon will be maintaining both FiOS and copper FOREVER needs an injection of common sense.

alchav

join:2002-05-17
Saint George, UT
Reviews:
·ooma
said by N3OGH:

The day will come when Verizon abandons it's copper plant in favor of an all Fios network. It's just not worth maintaining 2 networks when the copper plant costs so much more to maintain than the fiber one.

All that copper will be sold off to some secondary provider, and Verizon will be happy to be rid of it.
You're right in thinking that Verizon doesn't want or have extra money to spend on a Copper Plant. It's not only the Copper that has to be replaced and maintained, but the equipment in the Central Office too. As for a Secondary Provider, if this was practical because you just can't swing all this Copper to a new building, and no Provider wants to install obsolete equipment. So people have to stop crying and accept the fact Fiber is the Future!

Rattler

join:2001-04-13
Havertown, PA

1 recommendation

Who's going to pay for it?

So they get hit with a crapload of fines. Y'know where that money will eventually come from, don'tcha?

Everyone's already grousing about the increases in FiOS-TV charges slated for the beginning of next year. Instead of fining them, make them lower their charges in the allegedly affected areas while keeping other locales at the same levels.
--
Never raise your hands to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. -- Red Buttons

DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Re: Who's going to pay for it?

no just make them get FiOS out here
EPS4

join:2008-02-13
Hingham, MA

Re: Who's going to pay for it?

Hm, that could actually make sense- "If you're going to neglect the copper plant for the shiny new fiber-optic plant, you might as well give us the new shiny fiber-optic plant"

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1
said by Rattler:

So they get hit with a crapload of fines. Y'know where that money will eventually come from, don'tcha?

Everyone's already grousing about the increases in FiOS-TV charges slated for the beginning of next year. Instead of fining them, make them lower their charges in the allegedly affected areas while keeping other locales at the same levels.
That's a brilliant idea! Now get back in your box. Every corporation should have similar penalties imposed rather than paying fines. This is the only way to really punish them.
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

Re: Who's going to pay for it?

said by jmn1207:

That's a brilliant idea! Now get back in your box. Every corporation should have similar penalties imposed rather than paying fines. This is the only way to really punish them.
But what if a corporation fianances around it and pays the debt off by monthly payments after the punishment period expires by jacking up rates?

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Re: Who's going to pay for it?

said by patcat88:

But what if a corporation fianances around it and pays the debt off by monthly payments after the punishment period expires by jacking up rates?
Ok, how about any fines that are levied go DIRECTLY to the customers affected, tax-free. We are already paying for the government to monitor and enforce the rules, so there is absolutely no need to give them any more of our money.

SHABAZZ

join:2008-07-13
Seattle, WA
If they did that the tax payers would benefit and not the local governments. They won’t be able to use that fine money to build traffic violation cameras at stop lights so they can mail out tickets.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
said by jmn1207:

said by Rattler:

So they get hit with a crapload of fines. Y'know where that money will eventually come from, don'tcha?

Everyone's already grousing about the increases in FiOS-TV charges slated for the beginning of next year. Instead of fining them, make them lower their charges in the allegedly affected areas while keeping other locales at the same levels.
That's a brilliant idea! Now get back in your box. Every corporation should have similar penalties imposed rather than paying fines. This is the only way to really punish them.
One little problem. What is being suggested is illegal unless the US institutes price controls by act of Congress.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

Zen6

@rr.com
It is cheaper for vz to pay the fines then pay the workers all the ot they want to maintain it.

PeteC2
Got Mouse?
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-20
Bristol, CT
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Comcast

The point is....

That like it or not, whether it is part of their "future" plans or not, Verizon has an absolute responsibility to properly support and maintain the services that they provide their customers.

They certainly should be fined if they are not meeting those responsibilities. Granted, Verizon is a privately-owned business, however, they are in the communications biz, which for many good reasons is regulated by Govt.

Regardless if some of the current requirements may (or may not) change in the near future, they cannot blithely decide what parts of their agreement that they want to honor, and which parts they wish to ignore.

If Verizon wishes not to be in compliance, then they should get out of the Telco business. Do not be fooled, there is still money to be made there!
--
...something is happening here but you don't know what it is...do you, Mr. Jones?
JBear

join:2005-02-24
canada

Re: The point is....

Pete you are right. And while being the responsible company, they would also improve relations with their copper customers who one day, may have to switch to fiber, and would want to be with a company they have had good experiences from.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
said by PeteC2:



They certainly should be fined if they are not meeting those responsibilities. Granted, Verizon is a privately-owned business, however, they are in the communications biz, which for many good reasons is regulated by Govt.
Verizon is a business but the copper they sell service on is regulated in return for a near monopoly over it.

They need to pay for it and now they need to pay for a mistake they knowingly made (lack of maintenance.)
JimF
Premium
join:2003-06-15
Allentown, PA

Sales pitches are annoying

I have no problem with their customer service. But they make a lot of sales pitches, apparently from the contractors they employ, and they sometimes give out downright misleading information. The call last night took the cake though. It was obvious that she was talking over an Internet phone (and not a very good one either).

The more I think about it, the funnier it gets.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1

i beleive this.

we had verizon landline service that had another line crossed with ours. verizons tech supp told me right out that they would not fix it and to either deal with it or go to their competitor.Guess what i went to their competitor cablevision and their voip and got better service.
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

Re: i beleive this.

said by majortom1029:

we had verizon landline service that had another line crossed with ours. verizons tech supp told me right out that they would not fix it and to either deal with it or go to their competitor.Guess what i went to their competitor cablevision and their voip and got better service.
Call back or state PUC. Verizon will pay miserably.

Dominokat
"Hi"
Premium
join:2002-08-06
Boothbay, ME
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Don't worry about it.

Verizon is buying the commision. So what do you think will happen?
NOTHING!!!

"There is absolutely no need for the commission to expend the time and resources required to formally investigate Verizon's customer service quality for telephone operations — particularly at a time when the commission is considering changes to the very rules that Verizon allegedly violated."

Archen

@comcast.net

Very, very VERIZONKED

Verizonked is a laugh-riot.

They were supposed to install DSL for me -- 10 days after the scheduled "Activation Date," they still haven't done a thing. Finally, it took the State Public Utilities Commission intervention on my behalf to cancel the order that they could not even fill.

I have been getting FIOS junk mail and junk phone calls from them for well over two years now. However, they do no even "service" my 'hood with FIOS, nor do they have a clue if they ever will. Just send me their garbage mail and flood me with their garbage calls about it.

I do not have a landline phone, from Verizonked or anyone else.

The only "cell phone" I use is a SKYPE phone connected to my laptop, which basically lets me make/receive wireless telephone calls all over the planet for free.

With respect to TV, I pull in 17 digital TV stations with just a little room antenna, and 14 of these broadcast in HD (720 & 1080i).

Verizonked is unable to connect someone to DSL Internet service. They hype FIOS service incessantly, but do not offer it in the metro area where I live. And everyone who has ever dealt with VERIZONKED soon gets to be realy sorry that they did.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Problem Solves Itself

Screw copper. Verizon needs to throw 100% of its resources into fiber optic.
--
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty

jtudor
Xm 60's On 6 Freak
Premium,MVM
join:2002-12-07
Morganton, NC

Changing rules?

Quote:
"particularly at a time when the commission is considering changes to the very rules that Verizon allegedly violated"
Since when in the real world are you allowed to make that an excuse? As I have always been told and heard many lawyers, judges and law enforcement officers say: "you are responsible to follow the law (rules) in place at the time. Even if the law (rules) change later you are still responsible for what existed at that time.

But likely Verizon has enough money to buy off anyone who might desire to try to enforce the rules so.......
--
Best of luck

"Do, or Do not, there is no try!" Yoda


JesusIsBack

@charter.com

wow

Well maybe if they used their hearing aids and put their glasses back on the service would not be so bad?
NetLarry

join:2007-03-18
Johnstown, PA

I love the end of the Verizon quote...

Verizon says "...particularly at a time when the commission is considering changes to the very rules that Verizon allegedly violated."

"Let's break the law - I hear the legislature is considering changing it anyway...."

How far would I get with that argument in court? Likely just as far as the "local gray bar motel". Did anyone ever take a course in symbolic logic? I don't think Verizon's argument passes scrutiny, but payoffs (er, sorry, I meant lobbying expenditures) go a LONG way toward obscuring logic.

Just more of the same from a company who takes 2-3 days to respond to a "no dial tone" service call. Then, your interior wiring will be blamed (correctly or not), so if you haven't been paying for wire maintenance you're going to have a surprise in your next bill.

Nothing in this article is a surprise - as much as I'd like one.

NetLarry
mrks

join:2005-07-12
Lowell, MA

Blame the unions

Remember when the Verizon workers were telling us about this a couple years ago. They got the full union bashing onslaught. Now consumer groups and regulators are looking at this seriously. Just pointing out, I find it hilarious that the workers who do this for a living are branded as union goons just for opening their mouths and also happen to union members. We all know they won't be penalized meanifully.

keyboard5684
Sam

join:2001-08-01
Pittsburgh, PA

Bull

I do not believe it.
I hate Verizon, do not like them at all.
I do not have them at my home.

However, my Grandmother, when her landline went out due to a storm we had (trees down, etc) one call they were out there fixing the copper lines.

Next case. She lives in a very rural area. I like to camp there. So I ordered dry DSL and connected a WIFI radio and big omni on a telephone pole so I could get wifi in the woods. They had service up and going in days.

They JUST started servicing that area about 6 months ago. So that disproves the idea they are neglecting there copper. In fact, they seem to be building on it, at least in my area?

rawgerz
The hell was that?
Premium
join:2004-10-03
Grove City, PA

Re: Bull

There's a reason for that, they were dragged in kicking and screaming.
»www22.verizon.com/about/communit···dex.html

My co JUST got dsl this November. Counting since I started using a pc, that's 12 years with no land line broadband. And we're talking about a co that services probably 300-400+ homes and a dozen businesses.
--

You can't make all the people happy all of the time. But it should be common sense to shoot for the majority.

mededitor
Premium
join:2004-07-04
Northern NJ

Verizon customer service

I'm one of those who still has landline phones in the house. I've been dealing with Verizon's CS for weeks now trying to get them to correctly repair a problem that they admit is on the outside pole.

I'm tired of CS telling me that they "understand my problem," "understand my frustration," and "want to provide me with excellent service." If they aren't going to repair the problem and don't want to maintain their copper lines, then stop charging me for the service. That seems pretty simple.

From Verizon's statement, it seems clear that they are admitting to this practice, so reduce all customers' charges, stop charging at all, or maintain the system. I would think that they can't have it all...oh wait, yes they can, they have so-called lobbyists.

Yes, I have options, but for now I would prefer to stay with landline phone service. However, if and when the time comes to make a change, it won't be to Verizon FiOS simply because of this experience, it will be to Optimum Voice.
--
When one door closes, another opens...

VaGuy

@comcast.net

Abandon the copper?

There's a reason Verizon is digging up the copper when they can. It's highly valuable, and Verizon will make billions of dollars selling it as raw material.

Copper is a very limited resource, and demand continues to increase. That's why we stopped making copper pennies over 25 years ago.

Somnambul33t
L33t.
Premium
join:2002-12-05
Blackwood, NJ

this is only news because the unions are involved.

if Verizon DSL customers arent happy with their service, they need cancel it and go elsewhere. i dont wanna hear about "no other services offered" BS. there's satellite which is OK for standard web browsing. besides that, it's a choice. you either suck it up and stick with V DSL or you cancel and do something else.

for the union workers...you either suck it up as well or you find another job. every job has downsides and everyone weighs the pros vs the cons. this situation is no different at all.

Verizon doesnt want to spend the money to upkeep an aging and costly system and this includes providing the maintenance workers the equipment they need. they have every right as a private business to do so. it may not be good business practices, but they dont have a gun to your head forcing people to work for them or use their DSL service. remember this experience and when something else comes along, maybe it'll be worth it to switch.
--
Somnambulator - t3h 5133pw41k3r


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