Verizon is telling some New York City residents that they will never have their DSL lines replaced, and is telling those users they only have the option of wireless service going forward. Stop The Cap
notes that Fire Island, New York residents who lost service during Sandy haven't had broadband service since last October. After numerous complaints to a napping NYPSC, locals are now being told that their only option for voice and data is Verizon's Voice Link service (which allows you to use a normal phone over the wireless network) or LTE:
If a customer also had broadband service with Verizon, they will not be getting it back. Instead, an agent will attempt to sell the customer a Verizon Wireless mobile broadband package at a significantly higher cost. For example, a 10GB monthly usage plan added to an existing Verizon Wireless account will cost an extra $20 a month for the “Mi-Fi” mobile hotspot device fee and $100 a month for the data package. Verizon DSL in comparison offered unlimited access for $30-50 a month, depending on the plan selected and any promotional discounts.
We've already discussed at length how Verizon is trying to drive many of their users away from DSL by driving up DSL prices
and returning to the year 2000 practice of forcing the bundling of an old POTS line
. I've also noted that Sandy gave Verizon the perfect opportunity to push this strategy harder
. The goal is to either force DSL users to shift to FiOS (a limited option since FiOS expansion has all but stopped), convert to LTE (and the pricey overages that entails) or just leave and go to cable
, with whom Verizon just signed a cozy new co-marketing arrangement.
From Verizon's perspective it just makes business sense. Costs are lowered by giving up on troubled markets with low ROI. Ditching those markets lowers regulatory headaches and union headaches in one fell swoop (wireless isn't unionized). Wireless is also more resilient in storm-damaged areas like Fire Island. From the consumers' perspective it's a less compelling deal: higher prices, poorer service, and a stronger cable fixed line monopoly (again, higher prices).