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Senator Kohl Slams Verizon's Forced DSL/Landline Bundling
Urges FCC, DOJ to Scrutinize Cable Deal Carefully
by Karl Bode 12:32PM Thursday May 24 2012
Senator Herb Kohl is the latest politician to express concerns about the anti-competitive impact of Verizon's massive new bundling and marketing arrangement with the cable industry. In a letter (pdf) from Kohl sent to the Justice Department and the FCC, the Senator expresses concern about confining too much spectrum in the pens of the nation's largest phone companies, while also arguing that having Verizon and the cable industry as BFFs will likely result in less motivation to compete on the landline broadband front.

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Kohl's inquiry comes on the heels of a recent letter by Rep. Mike Doyle inquiring about the deal and Verizon's recent decision to again force DSL users to purchase a costly landline in order to get broadband service. As earning reports make very clear, Verizon has essentially given up on millions of their customers on aging DSL lines, and is letting them flee to faster cable alternatives as Verizon focuses on the higher-growth opportunities in wireless.

Verizon has stopped expanding FiOS services to focus on ramping up adoption in those markets. Roughly 40% of Verizon's existing landline broadband subscribers continue to be on DSL services, and Verizon has every indication of either leaving those customers on last-gen technology, or selling them to any number of financially dubious smaller telcos. Verizon's major focus now is LTE wireless, and in particular their HomeFusion fixed LTE service. Verizon has a strong momentum to shift these DSL users to HomeFusion -- where $10 per gigabyte overages await.

Kohl had already written to Verizon to criticize the company's backward momentum in forcing landline and DSL bundling, something consumers and consumer advocates spent years to successfully stop. "The bundling that Verizon now plans could potentially lessen competition, increase rates and lead to less innovation," Kohl said in his letter. "Consumers benefit when one service is competing with another, not when they must buy a package of services."

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majortom1029

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

hmm

Verizon is already not competing with cable on the landline front. Here on long island they will not expand fios into the town of brookhaven. In big chunks of brookhaven you cannot even get dsl.

Cablevision is really the only internet provider you can get.

voipguy

join:2006-05-31
Forest Hills, NY

Re: hmm

Maybe so, but Cablevision is not one of the cable companies cooperating with Verizon/Verizon Wireless.

How does this prove any point about the Cable/VZW spectrum deal?
majortom1029

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

Re: hmm

I was saying that cable and verizon already are not competing with each other. They do not need the deal to start doing it because they already are.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Verizon moving on to leading edge technology

Seems like Verizon is doing what everyone should want them to. And that is moving on to the new communication technologies of the 21st century and leaving behind the buggy whip technology of DSL. It is better for the customers; better for the country; better for the investors. The only ones complaining, besides an aging brain dead Senator, are those who continue to demand that Verizon continue to support old technology, but at lower than their costs.

GlennAllen
Sunny with highs in the 80s
Premium
join:2002-11-17
Richmond, VA

2 recommendations

Re: Verizon moving on to leading edge technology

Well, now you're just being facetious.

Dolgan
Premium
join:2005-10-01
Sun Prairie, WI
Reviews:
·Charter
quote:
Seems like Verizon is doing what everyone should want them to. And that is moving on to the new communication technologies of the 21st century and leaving behind the buggy whip technology of DSL
If that is the case they should be expanding FIOS throughout their entire footprint instead of halting deployment. Wireless will not be able to handle the load for the foreseeable future.

quote:
It is better for the customers; better for the country; better for the investors.
It is worse for the customers stuck in markets where Verizon refuses to upgrade and barely maintains. It is worse for the country as it leaves areas without broadband or slow speeds that make using Netflix and other E-commerce sites next to impossible. The investors are the only winners.

quote:
The only ones complaining, besides an aging brain dead Senator, are those who continue to demand that Verizon continue to support old technology, but at lower than their costs.
Not even close. If the costs of supporting DSL are so high they should raise the price of that service instead of forcing customers to bundle a service they do not want or need. There is no justification for forcing POTS service on customers.

Onedollar

join:2001-08-27
Pomona, CA
kudos:6

Re: Verizon moving on to leading edge technology

Forcing Pots service on DSL customers IS a way of raising prices.

The justification is to give an illusion of DSL prices staying the same to keep competitive with the competition.

Smith6612
Premium,MVM
join:2008-02-01
North Tonawanda, NY
kudos:23
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL
·Frontier Communi..
said by Dolgan:

Not even close. If the costs of supporting DSL are so high they should raise the price of that service instead of forcing customers to bundle a service they do not want or need. There is no justification for forcing POTS service on customers.

But see, here's the thing. They used to charge some $5-10 extra for loop fees for not having a landline if you ordered Dry Loop, so I cannot see how that extra $10 a month is not covering at least the loop itself and the rest is already paid for.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1
If Verizon had their way, they would still be selling everyone buggy whips. It was Comcast that took all of their landline customers. Consumers were fortunate to have this happen. Who knows how long it will be before we have such an amazing sequence of events befall us again?

I'm sure we will be plodding along with the existing LTE infrastructure and DOCSIS 3.0 technologies for a decade or longer. Spectrum control, agreements between the few corporations left in the industry, and the shocking amount of money being spent to ensure favorable legislation is passed will all contribute in making today's fancy chariots the old, rusty wagons of the future. The gap will continue to widen between the US and the more technologically advanced nations because of our rampant corporate/government corruption.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
said by FFH:

And that is moving on to the new communication technologies of the 21st century and leaving behind the buggy whip technology of DSL.

It's Verizon not their customers that decided to strand 40% of their landline service territory with barely maintained DSL buggy whips and it's an almost certain bet the very same areas unless the cable companies provide it will have inadequate fiber backhaul for LTE. Sounds more like Verizon is returning to the 19th century in many areas rather than joining the 21st.

zoom314

join:2005-11-21
Yermo, CA
Reviews:
·DSL EXTREME
·Time Warner Cable
said by FFH:

Seems like Verizon is doing what everyone should want them to. And that is moving on to the new communication technologies of the 21st century and leaving behind the buggy whip technology of DSL. It is better for the customers; better for the country; better for the investors. The only ones complaining, besides an aging brain dead Senator, are those who continue to demand that Verizon continue to support old technology, but at lower than their costs.

And Verizon is wanting to foist very expensive and unregulated LTE onto people who don't want it as it's too costly and who would rather keep DSL. I have DSL in a Verizon area, just not with Verizon anymore, over a year back I went to DSL Extreme instead, I get what I want for $32.83 a month, which is 3M/768K and it's on 24/7. Cable here is TWC and it's more expensive for the same speeds and I'm not interested in moving to TWC.

tim_k
Buttons, Bows, Beamer, Shadow, Kasey
Premium,VIP
join:2002-02-02
Stewartstown, PA
kudos:36

Re: Verizon moving on to leading edge technology

said by zoom314:

said by FFH:

Seems like Verizon is doing what everyone should want them to. And that is moving on to the new communication technologies of the 21st century and leaving behind the buggy whip technology of DSL. It is better for the customers; better for the country; better for the investors. The only ones complaining, besides an aging brain dead Senator, are those who continue to demand that Verizon continue to support old technology, but at lower than their costs.

And Verizon is wanting to foist very expensive and unregulated LTE onto people who don't want it as it's too costly and who would rather keep DSL. I have DSL in a Verizon area, just not with Verizon anymore, over a year back I went to DSL Extreme instead, I get what I want for $32.83 a month, which is 3M/768K and it's on 24/7. Cable here is TWC and it's more expensive for the same speeds and I'm not interested in moving to TWC.

Who's plant do you think DSL Extreme is using?
--
RIP my babies Buttons 1/15/94-2/9/07, Beamer 7/24/08, & Bows 12/17/94-10/11/09
maikii

join:2012-08-08
Pacific Palisades, CA
If you have DSL in a Verizon area, you have DSL with Verizon. Period.

The landlines are owned by the local telco monopoly, and all DSL signal goes through t that company.

You buy the VZ DSL from DSLExtreme, a reseller of the telco's DSL.

said by zoom314 See ProfileI have DSL in a Verizon area, just not with Verizon anymore, over a year back I went to DSL Extreme instead, I get what I want for $32.83 a month, which is 3M/768K and it's on 24/7. Cable here is TWC and it's more expensive for the same speeds and I'm not interested in moving to TWC.
[/BQUOTE :

asdfdfdfdfdf
Premium
join:2012-05-09
kudos:3
Wireless may be the future but it can't presently substitute for wireline. It is heavily capped, has unpredictable ping and packet behavior, is clearly lacking in network capacity compared to wireline, is costly, less reliable.

I'm all in favor of verizon investing in the future, and I give credit to verizon for doing far more to advance communications than their peers like att, but trying to force everyone onto technology that is not ready to handle it while slashing their spending on the technology that is still superior isn't very sensible. Timing is everything.
When it can match wires for cost, capacity and reliability that is the time to be bailing on wires.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

I'll take the Landline but not the DSL

I like Verizon's landline offering as its the most reliable. I ditched Comcast's home phone offering earlier this year as I installed an alarm system. I am getting used to having reliable phone service again. I had issues where CDV would cut out on me and when the power went out last year, the CDV died a few hours later. Verizon is powered by the central office and will not drop calls because of a glitch in the modem (which it has done more than once). Home phones are handy because you don't use your cell phone minutes. If I am up in Maine and I call my mother at home, it uses her minutes since I have Verizon Wireless and she has AT&T. We have Verizon for home phone as well.

I have Comcast for Internet and TV because we cannot get FiOS. Comcast tries to force you to take their triple play in order to get any discounts but I called the retentions department and threatened to switch to DirecTV and they offered me $20 per month off for the next 12 months. I also got rid of an extra cable box that I was not using and dropped $20 (HD Technology fee and Box rent) off of my bill and I went from performance to Blast and still came out ahead.

All I have for equipment now is a Motorola SBG 6120 (that I own), and the two TiVo boxes. They don't charge the HD Technology fee (but I still get HD) but I still have to pay for the second CableCard. Both TiVo boxes (premier series 4) have lifetime subs on them.

Comcast internet offering is much faster than Verizon's DSL offering. 30/5 vs 3/768.

If Senator Kohl really cared about Antitrust laws, he would ask the DOJ to investigate the monopolies/duopolies that Cable and Telcos have on HSI. Maybe it will be another 83 years before there is competition in Broadband. That is how long Ma' Bell lasted before Judge Greene ordered the Bell System broken up. Hopefully they will break up the Cablecos before then.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

handwriting was on the wall..

Not a peep when AT&T did this only a few short years after swallowing up Bell South.. huh?

The spectrum horse-trade is more ominous when you take the big picture into account... there is not just one piece that in and of itself is menacing to competition, but collectively if you take ALL of Verizon's recent anti-competitive actions and put them together....

let's start our list.. feel free to add if I missed something:

Verizon moves away from offering unlimited wireless data plans
Verizon begins MANDATING contracts for FIOS subscribers with an emphasis on selling only bundled services.
Verizon increases early termination fees across ALL services
Verizon changes language to raise taxes & fees in it's price-lock rates and to win any lawsuit or arbitration related to same
Verizon raises rates on wireless data
Verizon raises rates on FIOS services
Verizon raises rates on copper services
Verizon raises rates on wireless services and begins forced bundling / "FAMILY SHARED DATA PLANS"
Verizon changes terms of service in wireless to scale back handset subsidies
Verizon signs agreement with Comcast for sale of spectrum and agrees to not compete in each others markets (illegal, btw.. but you'd be surprised how much lipstick Verizon lawyers can manufacture when paid well enough to gussy up that pig)
Verizon neglects more copper plant networks and hints of more sales to bankrupt and failing Spin-Off companies... (AT&T chomping at the bit to do the same)

P.S. This is all a red herring until the next election cycle is over.. not a damned thing will be done about it until then at the minimum.

zoom314

join:2005-11-21
Yermo, CA
Reviews:
·DSL EXTREME
·Time Warner Cable

Re: handwriting was on the wall..

said by tmc8080:

Not a peep when AT&T did this only a few short years after swallowing up Bell South.. huh?

The spectrum horse-trade is more ominous when you take the big picture into account... there is not just one piece that in and of itself is menacing to competition, but collectively if you take ALL of Verizon's recent anti-competitive actions and put them together....

let's start our list.. feel free to add if I missed something:

Verizon moves away from offering unlimited wireless data plans
Verizon begins MANDATING contracts for FIOS subscribers with an emphasis on selling only bundled services.
Verizon increases early termination fees across ALL services
Verizon changes language to raise taxes & fees in it's price-lock rates and to win any lawsuit or arbitration related to same
Verizon raises rates on wireless data
Verizon raises rates on FIOS services
Verizon raises rates on copper services
Verizon raises rates on wireless services and begins forced bundling / "FAMILY SHARED DATA PLANS"
Verizon changes terms of service in wireless to scale back handset subsidies
Verizon signs agreement with Comcast for sale of spectrum and agrees to not compete in each others markets (illegal, btw.. but you'd be surprised how much lipstick Verizon lawyers can manufacture when paid well enough to gussy up that pig)
Verizon neglects more copper plant networks and hints of more sales to bankrupt and failing Spin-Off companies... (AT&T chomping at the bit to do the same)

P.S. This is all a red herring until the next election cycle is over.. not a damned thing will be done about it until then at the minimum.

Agreed, I have My doubts anything will be done, Verizon thinks they can get away with whatever Verizon wants, so is it no surprise that Verizon is stating "it's our way or no internet"...
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA

They will get away with it...

simply because they know where to slip the right amounts of money to keep the government out of their business. Corruption is the rule in government anyway.