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Verizon Starts Passing On RIAA Infringement Letters To Users

from the what's-next,-though? dept

Allison K alerts us to the news that Verizon is the latest US broadband provider to agree to pass along the RIAA letters accusing Verizon customers of unauthorized file sharing. AT&T, Comcast, Cox and some other ISPs already do this. The letters don't include specific threats of action (so, no "three strikes" type policies), but the RIAA is clearly hoping that by passing on the letters it will discourage unauthorized file sharing. It's a bit of a waste for Verizon to need to spend resources on this, and it really is just the RIAA's first step in the door to eventually push for kicking people off of the internet, but on the whole it's not that terrible to pass along notices. In the end, my guess is that it will actually serve to do a lot more to promote encryption services than anything else. Maybe some encryption service can approach Verizon about "sponsoring" those customer notifications.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Guy One, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 4:00pm

    Booo! Luckily I went 'green' months ago and stopped receiving paper mail at my place, so i will never find those letters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Steven (profile), Nov 13th, 2009 @ 4:52pm

    More than encryption

    I know of a couple people who now pay a small fee for high speed bandwidth and a decent amount of storage specifically for an off shore bittorrent server. There are several of these service providers, but I can't remember the name of any off the top of my head (maybe somebody can point a couple out).

    The bittorrent traffic is all on their server, and the user has file access to their account.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 4:56pm

    i'm an insight customer, recently caught my first...they didnt pass along a letter, just cut my data service, until i called in for a stern talking to by a gentleman who very obviously had no idea what the fark he was talking about.

    According to him multiple infringement notices could result in loss of data services for a month and eventually termination. He was not however aware of anyone who had actually been term'd for this.
    He suggested i check the 8 computers on my home network for any of that "illegal filesharing" software, since all the kids these days are using it and could get me arrested. (i managed not to giggle at him)

    We had a nice little back and forth a bit as i showed him how easy it is to crack a wep key. Not what i'm using on my router, but no need to get into that with the poor fellow, just to make life easier i threw him a bone and mentioned the trojan i'd found in a recent scan. He gleefully informed me of the dangers of my computer being taken over by a botnet, which, presumably, desperatly needed the last DLC for fallout 3.
    Once i started asking questions about why they were cutting off their own customers on the basis of unsubstantiated claims made by a third party, he muttered something about "protecting our network," turned my service back on and ended the call.
    all in all pretty amusing, of course the minute they try and ground my service i'll be setting up the FIOS install, but we'll blow that bridge when we reach it.

     

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  4.  
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    anonymous coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 5:51pm

    Big Talk from a Keyboard Bully

    Oooh, aren't you an uber geek, talking all techie and stuff to some poor slob that makes $8/hour trying to help you. Did you feel self important when you were done? Did you feel special after pulling all your geek speak on this poor slob trying to make a living?

    The guy was trying to help, didn't have the resources or training, but was trying to assist you, but you have to pull out your geek speak and then brag about it. You sir, are someone who deserves to have their bandwidth shut down, just for being a jack ass.

    Good luck with FIOS....that's a whole other story that you obviously don't know much about.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Big Talk from a Keyboard Bully

    Do *you* feel special now that you've taken the time to write *your* douchey essay?

    Go buy stuff on thinkgeek, you'll feel better.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 6:13pm

    Doesn't this relate to your "bypass 230" story from earlier today? I think that is just shows that ISPs are learning pretty quickly that no matter how they try to twist the laws, they are left with two choices: Point at the user or take the heat themselves. I suspect that passing on the notices is way cheaper than hiring a buttload of lawyers to answer them.

    What Verizon is doing is pretty much taking themselves out of the line of legal fire, and at the same time giving the users the chance to handle it themselves.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Big Talk from a Keyboard Bully

    Talking about a virus/trojan is "geek speak?" Or is it talking about a scan? Or that fancy phrase "third party?"

    I think you went meant to complain about was words from beyond the fifth grade, but don't worry, you'll graduate eventually.

     

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  8.  
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    Robin, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 9:10pm

    iiNet

    "but on the whole it's not that terrible to pass along notices"

    not the feeling of australian isp iinet, currently in court over their refusal to act as cops on behalf of a disrupted industry.

    shame on you mike.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 9:36pm

    RE: Big talk....

    Looks to me like someone hit a nerve. Someone made a point about the "slob in the call center", and the trolls came out.

    I know it is frustrating to deal with your ISP and the jack balls they hire. It does not do a bit of good to berate the tool that takes the call, nor does it do any good to try to "out geek" them. They have had minimal training, get paid minimal amounts of money and have dreams of grandeur passed to them from on high.

    However, the condensending tone was a bit much. If you want to practice your geek speak, calling a ISP tech isn't the way to do it. Coming back and telling someone to "grow up" just shows what kind of troll you are, and the comment about shopping at whatever geek store kind of misses your point, you seem to know a lot about it.

    Good luck.
    haud misercodia pro plebis

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 10:01pm

    HERES THE ONE I GOT ON 5/13/09


    Dear Verizon Online Customer:

    We are writing to advise you that Verizon recently received a notification from a copyright owner of a possible copyright violation that appears to involve your Verizon Online account (the "Complaint"). The work(s) identified by the copyright owner in its Complaint are listed below.

    We are contacting you because our records indicate that the Internet protocol (IP) address provided to us by the copyright owner was assigned to your service on the date and time identified by the copyright owner. While this activity may have occurred without your permission or knowledge by an unauthorized user, or perhaps by a minor who may not fully understand the copyright laws, as the primary account holder, you are legally responsible for all activity originating from your account.

    Copyright work(s) identified in the Complaint:

    Copyright infringement level: 1
    Notice ID:
    Title: Fast & Furious
    Protocol: BitTorrent
    IP Address:
    DNS:
    File Name: Fast.And.Furious.2009.R5.LINE.Custom.DK.SWE.Subs.PAL.DVDR-Dingel
    File Size: 4134265136
    Timestamp:


    Copyright infringement is a serious matter that violates U.S. copyright law and subjects infringers to criminal and civil liability. It also violates our Acceptable Use Policy (http://www2.verizon.net/policies/acceptable_use.asp) and Terms of Service (http://www2.verizon.net/policies/tos.asp). If you, or someone using your Internet connection, are engaged in the conduct alleged by the copyright owner, we urge you to stop (and ensure that anyone else who might have access to your Internet connection also stops).

    Protecting Your Privacy: The copyright owner has not asked Verizon to identify you, and Verizon will NOT provide your identity without a lawful subpoena or other lawful process. However, if the copyright owner does issue a lawful subpoena or other lawful process that seeks information about your identity or account, Verizon will be legally required to provide the requested information to the copyright owner.

    If you have questions regarding this notice or would like to view Frequently Asked Questions about copyrights and piracy please visit us at www.verizon.net/copyrightfaq.

    We appreciate your cooperation on this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Verizon Online

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Not The Same AC, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 10:31pm

    Re:

    I believe you'll find the ISPs aren't the ones twisting the law. Since when is following the law as it is written twisting it, after all?

     

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  12.  
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    Not The Same AC, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

    Re: iiNet

    This story doesn't pertain to Australia, does it?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Mikecancook, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 11:14pm

    Re:

    I think the real problem here is that someone actually wanted to watch 'fast and the furious'. Poor bastard is obviously mentally deficient.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 11:32pm

    Following the law as its written normally involves certain due processes in the US.
    Unless you mean i can accuse someone of breaking into my house, have him arrested, have the police confiscate his stuff, let me hold on to it indefintitly while we search for evidence of wrongdoing, as following the law.

    Ran on a bit there, but you get my drift.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2009 @ 11:34pm

    Send me a RIAA letter and get it back with a BIG FU and me disconnecting my service on my own.

    Fk the RIAA, They can kiss my greased up lugnuts!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 12:24am

    Re:

    Doesn't this relate to your "bypass 230" story from earlier today?

    No. Section 230 has nothing to do with copyright.

    I think that is just shows that ISPs are learning pretty quickly that no matter how they try to twist the laws, they are left with two choices: Point at the user or take the heat themselves.

    Actually, no, that's simply not true.

    I suspect that passing on the notices is way cheaper than hiring a buttload of lawyers to answer them.

    As if those are the only two options?

    What Verizon is doing is pretty much taking themselves out of the line of legal fire, and at the same time giving the users the chance to handle it themselves.

    That's again not true. Under the DMCA Verizon does not have the responsibility to identify the user. There were some lawsuits about this and Verizon fought the RIAA and won.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Dave, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 1:03am

    ISP Letters

    This is actually nothing new, I'm in the UK and approx. four years ago my ISP I was with at the time sent me an e-mail in much the same vein, with accusations of file-sharing and "illegal" downloading with very similar waffle thrown in for good measure. Needless to say, I dispensed with their services in short order.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 4:12am

    Good thing my neighbor pays for my internet connection :D

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    Kewl. On average, it would only take 3 RIAA letters through your three possible internet connections to get you completely self-detatched.

    Go for it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re:

    Please Mike, do show examples.

    Please also explain to us how Verizon can legally ignore DMCA complaints.

    I would really like to read about this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    ITS CALLED SAFE HARBOR LAWS THAT STATE THAT THE CARRIER CAN NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF ITS USERS.

    You get the ID 10 T award!

    Numb nuts!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    The letter at 10 above actually sounds quite reasonable. It makes no threats, identifies the activity at issue, notes customer ID info is not passed to the DMCA filer outside of legal process, solicits voluntary compliance, etc.

    If even this is too much for "I demand my privacy file "sharing" activists", then in my view they are engaged in the same hard-nosed type of overreaching that many accuse the movie and music industries of engaing in.

    Tom Sydnor was recently berated for a comment regarding his preferrence for receiving a notice vs. a subpeona. The above reflects the very point he was trying to make.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has notable safe-harbor provisions which protect Internet service providers from the consequences of their users' actions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, what he said

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Need more competition, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re: RE: Big talk....

    Some people have the option of finding a better ISP to do business with. It's a shame that this option is not more widely available.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please also explain to us how Verizon can legally ignore DMCA complaints.

    Before the RIAA started suing people, it sent letters to ISPs and told ISPs they had to identify their users. But Verizon pushed back, and the courts sided with Verizon, saying that the only way Verizon had to do anything was if the RIAA first filed a lawsuit and then a court could issue a subpoena.

    http://news.cnet.com/Court-RIAA-lawsuit-strategy-illegal/2100-1027_3-5129687.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    Tom Sydnor was recently berated for a comment regarding his preferrence for receiving a notice vs. a subpeona. The above reflects the very point he was trying to make.

    No, Tom was berated for claiming that a LAW forcing ISPS to CUT OFF USERS without due process is "good for consumers."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Am I doing it right?, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    Deer Verisan Onlene Custamir:

    We are riting for addvize you Verisan got a leter from a coperite persin of a coperite steeling that came from your Verian Onlene acount. The stuff oned by the coperite oner in the leter is below.

    The Intirnat prootacall (IP) adres showed to us by the coperite oner was gived to you on that date and time said by the coperite oner. This may have ocured wit out your ok or by som one else, or som one who did not no wat they are doing, as the prymari acount holder, you are legaly responsable for all stuff on your acount.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re:

    I think you need to do a bit more studying on the subject matter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    simple answer, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    Re:

    "i can accuse someone of breaking into my house, have him arrested, have the police confiscate his stuff, let me hold on to it indefintitly while we search for evidence of wrongdoing"

    Do you have loads of money? Do you have political influence due to campaign contributions? If the answer to the above is no, then also the answer to your question is no.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Yeebok (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Re: iiNet

    I mention the iiNet case on here a few times but it seems since it's not US centred it doesn't get a look in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, he was talking about a graduated response law (call if "three strikes" if you want) and opined that a series of notices/letters was preferrable to being hit with a lawsuit at the outset.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: iiNet

    I mention the iiNet case on here a few times but it seems since it's not US centred it doesn't get a look in.

    We've written about the iinet case many, many times:

    http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?site=&q=iinet&tid=&aid=&searchin=storie s

    I haven't been writing about each day of the trial, because there hasn't been enough interesting happening. I'm waiting for the verdict or at least something really newsworthy.

    Please don't suggest we're not following it. That's incorrect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, he was talking about a graduated response law (call if "three strikes" if you want)

    Exactly what I said: a law for cutting people off the internet without due process...

    opined that a series of notices/letters was preferrable to being hit with a lawsuit at the outset.

    No, again you are rewriting history. He was opining on how the law acted for the benefit of consumers, when it clearly did not. He suggested, entirely incorrectly, that the only two possible options were to sue or to issue notices. He was wrong. You, repeating his wrong comments just show how little you understand this issue.

    I recognize that, as an IP lawyer, you like to defend the monopolies that give you your money, but at least get your facts straight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    Re: RE: Big talk....

    Reply button, use it, moron.

    Also, I'm not the guy you spew your bile on, although I *am* the guy who thinks you're a douche.

    Can you breathe? No? It's because your head is in your ass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Yeebok (profile), Nov 14th, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: iiNet

    Sorry Mike !

    I had honestly not recalled seeing a story about it. Apologies for the error.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Jonas, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 8:34pm

    this is unfortunate

    I was telling people the other day about how much I liked Verizon and what a proud customer of theirs I was to stick with them for the past 7 years. Guess what not only can't I say that but these sort of actions are going to reflect when I go up to have a new contract with Verizon or not. You want to stand up for a bunch of criminals like the RIAA you will lose my business and you can bet theirs a map for that!

    Fuck the R I double A!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Daemon_ZOGG, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 9:46pm

    Re: "Good thing my neighbor pays for my internet connection :D"

    Awesome. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Daemon_ZOGG, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 9:50pm

    Re: this is unfortunate

    Well said, on that last sentence... Couldn't have said it better myself. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, again you are rewriting history. He was opining on how the law acted for the benefit of consumers, when it clearly did not. He suggested, entirely incorrectly, that the only two possible options were to sue or to issue notices. He was wrong. You, repeating his wrong comments just show how little you understand this issue.

    I gave Mr. Sydnor credit then, as I do now, that he understands more than two options are always available. His comments, though, were in the context of what he believes is the better of two approaches when it comes to the enforcement of copyright by a rights holder inclined to do so.

    Given the two approaches, I daresay most "consumers" would rather learn about a problem via a letter (the one noted in the article is actually a good one in that it informs rather than threatens) than via a lawsuit.

    As for defending "monopolies", I have never stated any opinion concerning whether or not I believe patents beget more inventions and copyrights beget more original works. Hence, it is inaccurate to say I like to defend monopolies.

    On the other hand, it would be accurate to say that you have defended monopolies to the extent that they occur as the result of "innovation". I do understand, though, that you view such monopolies through an "economics" prism in lieu of a "Sherman/Clayton Act" prism. This is not a criticism, but merely intended as an observation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2009 @ 6:36am

    Re: Big Talk from a Keyboard Bully

    Yeah, you big bully. Next time you phone your Internet Service Provider don't talk about the internet, or networks, or even computers you... you... you big bully you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 16th, 2009 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I gave Mr. Sydnor credit then, as I do now, that he understands more than two options are always available

    Not based on what he wrote, and not based on his responses in the comments. Why would you give him credit for something that even he denies? I'm quite curious.

    Given the two approaches, I daresay most "consumers" would rather learn about a problem via a letter (the one noted in the article is actually a good one in that it informs rather than threatens) than via a lawsuit.

    Yes, given would I rather be shot in the head or the leg, guess which one I'll pick. Doesn't change the fact that getting shot in the leg is NOT "consumer relief."

    As for defending "monopolies", I have never stated any opinion concerning whether or not I believe patents beget more inventions and copyrights beget more original works. Hence, it is inaccurate to say I like to defend monopolies.

    Ha! You have rabidly defended the patent system against the most ridiculous of abuses. You have regularly defending indefensible statements from folks who are paid to pump up those monopolies to ridiculous levels. To say you do not defend monopolies is obnoxious and a flat out lie. You sicken me.

    On the other hand, it would be accurate to say that you have defended monopolies to the extent that they occur as the result of "innovation". I do understand, though, that you view such monopolies through an "economics" prism in lieu of a "Sherman/Clayton Act" prism. This is not a criticism, but merely intended as an observation.

    I have done no such thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not based on what he wrote, and not based on his responses in the comments. Why would you give him credit for something that even he denies? I'm quite curious.

    I can only surmise you missed my qualifier "inclined to do so".

    Ha! You have rabidly defended the patent system against the most ridiculous of abuses. You have regularly defending indefensible statements from folks who are paid to pump up those monopolies to ridiculous levels. To say you do not defend monopolies is obnoxious and a flat out lie. You sicken me.

    "Obnoxious", "lie", and "sicken", just three among what seem to be some of your favorite words, are certainly not calculated to promote free and open discussion. If you have specific citations in mind please feel free to note them and I will be glad to clarify any questions you may have.

    I have done no such thing.

    Once again, qualifiers are important. I do not make copies of articles you present, so I am unable to provide specific citations. I have, however, read several articles where you take public officials to task for making allegations involving the potential violation of our antitrust laws. Importantly, a "monopoly" under antitrust law" is markedly different from a "monopoly" associated patent and copyright law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anent 43 below, I am still interested in learning about citations so that I will be able to provide clarifications. Just as you at times have provided clarifications to clear up misconceptions about articles and comments you post, I am quite pleased to do the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Nanah83, Mar 15th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    Re: this is unfortunate

    Agreed. I got one of those letters, and I was really upset. I upgraded from the slowest Verizon internet service to the best FiOs available, and not long after that, they sent me that letter. What's my fast internet for now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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