Is Verizon No Longer Betting On The Future?

from the that-would-be-bad dept

Back in 2003, we had written about how Verizon’s CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, was betting big on future technologies. It was in response to a Business Week profile that oddly positioned the idea of installing fiber-to-the-home as being a huge risk. Lots of investors were against it, because it was expensive. But if you looked at where the market was really heading, you could see that it would position Verizon way ahead of the competition. Broadband keeps getting faster. While other companies were focusing on minor incremental improvements, Verizon wanted to leapfrog them all — and has done a damn good job of it. In many of the markets where Verizon FiOS is now offered, the competition is left in the dust.

But, now, it sounds like the bean counters with a shortsighted quarterly focus may be winning out. Broadband Reports is noting that Verizon is basically giving up on any more FiOS implementations. If you’re in an area that’s not covered, don’t expect Verizon to show up at your door with a fiber optic cable any time soon. In fact, they’re using the “threat” of not installing fiber to try to get more cash from the government:

But according to long-time industry analyst Dave Burstein, Verizon’s essentially cutting and running on additional deployment plans, leaving a very large chunk of their footprint on last-generation DSL and copper-based voice networks.

Burstein tells Broadband Reports that he doesn’t see Verizon expanding any further (with the exception of major cities where they’ve signed franchise agreements) unless they get money from Uncle Sam. “They want to get on the gravy train, although I think the new, less competitive leadership is the primary explanation,” says Burstein when asked why. Seidenberg, the driving force behind the first wave of FiOS, is on his way out — and his replacements aren’t quite as bullish on angering investors for the sake of this whole “future” thing.

Of course, they can do that when there isn’t any real competition on the horizon. We can hope that Google’s toe dipping into high speed broadband turns into a bigger deal (at which point Google becomes the disruptive future-looking company instead of Verizon), but there’s still not much of an indication that the company is planning to ever roll broadband out on a widespread basis. In the meantime, of course, other countries that have much greater competition are also enjoying much faster speeds. And, rather than dealing with that, the FCC is talking to puppets (literally) about protecting kids from the evils of broadband. And we wonder why we’re so far behind other countries in broadband speeds.

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Companies: fcc, verizon

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Comments on “Is Verizon No Longer Betting On The Future?”

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McBeese says:

I'm OK

I live in Dallas.

Verizon FiOS Internet service. Rocks.

AT&T 3G service. Rocks. (Dallas is AT&T HQ, people would be fired if coverage didn’t rock around here.)

Clear 4G wireless for all my wifi devices (tablets, netbooks, etc.). Rocks. 4M down, 1M up. No way am I going to pay for a data plan PER DEVICE.

No state income tax in Texas. Rocks. Oops, sorry, off-topic.

Life is good here for broadband consumption.

OH – almost forgot. Verizon FiOS cable TV. Sucks!! Expensive, retarded bundles, horrible DVRs. I think I’m no more than a year away from abandoning CATV offerings in favor of the Internet.

Tek'a R (profile) says:

Re: Re: I'm OK

pure overall population density is mostly meaningless when it comes to looking at deployment of products like this.

Texas is a big state. I know, i lived there.
And there are a lot of people in Texas, but the 90+% majority of them live in a few metroplex clusters. DFW, San Antonio, Austin, Coastal, so on.

It is very easy to get service to those people in the cities, and it becomes scary hard to get service to the minority living out in the rural areas.

when Verizon, for example, could build 1 mile of fiber to connect to a thousand people in dallas compared to building 80 miles to connect to 20 people in Dustbowl City, you can se where the focus will lay.

Bob Varettoni says:

Verizon's view

I am a spokesperson for Verizon. Just a few points: Verizon said it would spend $23 billion for FiOS deployment through the end of this year — and we’re meeting that commitment. That’s about $22 billion and change more than any other company in America will have actually spent by the end of this year in bringing ultra-fast fiber-based broadband directly to homes.

We have additional commitments to build out FiOS in certain jurisdictions beyond 2010 that we will also meet. Our focus now is on making our FiOS network available for sale — and selling FiOS services! — to all the homes we have passed (there’s still additional work to be done after a home is passed — to provide TV, for example, we need a local franchise).

At the same time, we have also invested more than $9 billion in spectrum for a nationwide LTE network — which will be up to 10 times faster than today’s wireless technology. Our LTE spectrum covers the entire lower 48 states plus Hawaii, and will give Verizon customers nationwide bandwidth and coverage, whenever and wherever they need it. We plan to launch our LTE network in 25 to 30 markets in 2010 and cover virtually our entire current nationwide 3G footprint (our “map”) with 4G LTE wireless broadband by the end of 2013.

Bob Varettoni says:

Re: Re: Verizon's view

The simple answer is “no” — because by definition FiOS is fiber-based and LTE is wireless-based. The broadband capacity of fiber is greater than that of even LTE — so while you wouldn’t expect Verizon to offer, say, “FiOS 3D TV” over LTE, you can expect great download and upload speeds over LTE for mobile video applications… and a mobile Web experience that will rival what we now think of as wireline-based broadband.

BearGriz72 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Verizon's view

And what of those of us that Verizon is abandoning?

Verizon Sells Huge Chunk Of Network To Frontier (Wednesday May 13 2009)
“Frontier Communications will pay $5.3 billion in common stock and take on $3.3 billion in debt in order to acquire Verizon’s DSL and landline networks in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin — and some rural assets in California…
According to the two companies, the deal is expected to take about a year to close.” (So about now in other words…)

mark says:

Hey, Bob, it’s nice that you’re willing to respond in this space, but: I live in the nation’s capitol and can’t get your service, even though you advertise it relentlessly in my local media. What you spend nationally is meaningless to me if you’re unwilling to do business on my block. I wish you would stop bombarding me with ads for a product I can’t buy.

Jim says:

Cable companies

Fois sucks I had it and went back to cable. I did not like their service and I my service went out once for three weeks. Also they made it sound like I get a free DVR for life and all i need is one DVR. And I can watch it in every room. Well not true in order to watch it in everyroom I need another regular box. Pluse when I got the bill it was $40.00 more then the quoted me. So I kept it for six onths and just did not see that much of a diffrence. So I had called my cable company back and that had an awesome price if I came back. Well i did and Im spending what I was before I got cable which was a it less but I feel more relaxed with my old cable line up. also the customer service blows Verizon away.

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