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Verizon Responds to Fire Island Inquiry With 300 Redacted Pages
by Karl Bode 09:07AM Monday Nov 04 2013
As we've covered in detail Verizon has taken a lot of heat by telling Sandy victims, a year after the storm, that they will never see their POTS and DSL lines repaired. Instead, Verizon foisted a wireless service called Voice Link upon those customers, a service that didn't include data, suffered from numerous feature shortcomings, and generally wasn't much of a replacement for DSL and POTS whatsoever.

Consumer advocates have been pushing the issue, not entirely convinced by Verizon's argument that it makes no financial sense to upgrade these users (since Comcast has had no such problems). Back in September advocates filed a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request in New York, and Verizon's response was not what you'd call helpful:
Verizon responded to the advocate’s Freedom of Information request with more than 300 fully redacted pages. Among other documents, Verizon claimed as a “trade secret” a list of Voice Link deployments, a Voice Link leader’s guide and a document about overcoming customers’ objections to Voice Link and responding to requests to return to copper.
While certainly some of the documents contain sensitive competitive data, Verizon chose to black all of the information out, in the process potentially violating New York’s Freedom of Information Law. What doesn't Verizon want people to see?

Likely it's precisely what we've been telling you for months: that Sandy is a massive red herring obscuring the company's long-ago made decision to hang up on DSL and POTS users they don't want to upgrade. Verizon also doesn't want people to realize they're willfully driving many of these users to companies like Comcast. None of this meshes particularly well with Verizon's claim they're just "modernizing infrastructure" with a sub-standard Voice Link product.

After criticism from consumer advocates, the FCC (sort of), New York's PSC and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Verizon finally buckled and said they'd run FiOS there to the island's 600 residents -- though that doesn't help the potentially millions more that face the same fate.

topics flat nest 

Support The Clecs

Danbury, CT

Does noone ever learn?

Its the cover-up that kills you.

Dr Demento
I Vant Blud

Denville, NJ

2 edits

Re: Does noone ever learn?

This may go down in the same fashion as the history of urban renewal and how residents of NYC blocks deemed blighted and slated for demolition felt that civil planners were not just reluctant to actually listen to them but were taking action as well as publishing documents on how to supersede their legal objections. They defined this as a form of neighborhood rehabilitation.

I guess Fire Island residents are gonna feel the need to look for a kind of Jane Jacobs to save them.

East Amherst, NY
The issue is POTS and it's 100 year old legacy is dead. What they need to do is get rid of copper and replace it w/ IP (coax/fibre) or air (wireless), however some sort of regulation needs to follow...



1 recommendation

I disagree

You can get quite decent speeds on FTTN, 50mb/s. The only reason they don't want to is due to pro business model, gouge the customer for non existant lines, instead charging a boatload for overages due to the way the signal is shared, creating a limit where none existed before on the landline. It's just slight of hand magic. If they wanted to be consumer friendly they could be, they just don't want to be. That's why the industry needs regulators with teeth instead of blind drones that take the money and shut up.

Santa Monica, CA

1 recommendation

Re: I disagree

No, the reason they don't want to do it is that the customer base isn't going to pay for it, especially on Fire Island.
Parkville, MD

Re: Does noone ever learn?

No. What they should have done was to immediately fix their damaged copper infrastructure asap so that residents had something called basic phone service. It's amazing what two little copper wires can do and how some want avoid it like a water to a witch. It seems to have scary things like regulations so that the customer can't be screwed as much. Arguing that sending beams of light over glass fibres or sending clean radio signals across and through buildings is simpler than sending a simple electrical signal over copper just doesn't pass the smell test for me. This was an epic fail for Verizon. Repairing your infrastructure after the storm is the cost of doing business.

Regulations including the requirement to share lines should extend to fiber or they should be required to maintain the copper or we should have government run lines (like our roads and highways) with private companies leasing the lines to provide services.

If Fire Island decided to fix their communications structure, you know darn well that Verizon would be one of the first to try to stop it. All Verizon wants is monopoly and control. They don't care, they don't have to care, they're the phone company.



1 recommendation

people need to be more active

Do you think residents of Latin America would take this lying down? They'd be in the streets forcing the government to act. That's what is needed. Make them carry through with their legal agreements instead of bribing officials to change the rules retroactively. The only kind of population that can get fair and impartial treatment seems to be the population willing to scare their 'leaders' into behaving. If necessary force AT&T to sell the assets to a third party and make them rebuild.

Metairie, LA

Re: people need to be more active

Yeah, and scrap the Constitution with it right! If folks spent half as much time vetting candidates before giving away their precious vote to someone just because he/she is affiliated with a major party, we would be picking better people to represent us. Forced term limits on those not properly serving by voting them out.

Latin America doesn't have a constitution worth fighting for that gives the individual more rights than the government. Our troubles atom from our unwillingness to keep our rights via the form of government we have. Instead too many would rather violently revolt when they don't get their way, much like a child throwing a temper tantrum.
Charlotte, NC

Do it your self

When Verizon played their card Fire Island should have decided to build their own FTTH system.


Freedom of Information Law applies to government not private enterprise

Since when does a non-governmental entity have to respond to Freedom of Information Law requests?

RF is Good For You
Mukwonago, WI

Re: Freedom of Information Law applies to government not private enterprise

Because it's regulated by the government, utilizing public franchise agreements.

Brooklyn, NY

here come the judge

it's quite simple, a judge will get to see the 300 pages and decide.. if VZ violated the law
hopefully one VZ hasn't corrupted.

Los Angeles, CA
·Time Warner Cable

Typical Verizon

I will always hate Verizon with a passion. They are one of the most evil corporations out there. They are the B of A of telecom. AT&T is not so innocent either. I've worked at Verizon Wireless in the past, and oh what a nightmare and a bunch of Nazis.  When it was Air Touch Cellular, it was decent, until Verizon took over...