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.