Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
broadband, competition, dsl, fcc, wireless

Companies:
verizon



Verizon Says Claims It's Abandoning Its DSL Customers 'Pure Nonsense,' As Company Clearly Busy Abandoning DSL Customers

from the you-realize-we-have-eyes,-right? dept

As we've been exploring for some time, both AT&T and Verizon have been turning their backs on traditional copper-based phone service and DSL users they're unwilling to upgrade. Both of the companies' next-gen fixed-line broadband deployment plans (U-Verse and FiOS, respectively) have been all but frozen as the ISPs focus on notably more profitable wireless service. The shift is understandable: wireless tends to be cheaper to deploy, less unionized, and relatively less regulated, and the fact that it's usage capped in the face of soaring mobile video growth means future revenue projections are very handsome indeed.

The only problem? Tens of millions of people remain on DSL lines the companies refuse to upgrade to fiber. Many of these lines were built on the backs of billions in taxpayer subsidies -- subsidies that quite often were given for fiber upgrades that were never actually delivered. Both AT&T and Verizon are willfully trying to drive these customers away via the one-two punch of price hikes and support neglect, while going state by state lobbying for the gutting of all regulations requiring that they continue to offer service or meet base levels of service quality.

Cable operators are pretty happy with this paradigm, as the decrease in DSL competitors means less competition than ever before. Unions, however, obviously aren't a huge fan of this transition given the decrease in deployment and support, and have ramped up their attacks on Verizon's neglect of older networks. The Communications Workers of America has been pushing regulators to disclose the impact this neglect has had on consumer complaint numbers:
"The CWA plans to file public information requests this week with a handful of state regulators including in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to see whether it can uncover data showing the extent of the problems..."Verizon is systematically abandoning the legacy network and as a consequence the quality of service for millions of phone customers has plummeted,” said Bob Master, CWA’s political director for the union’s northeastern region."
That specifically shouldn't be hard in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where state lawmakers handed Verizon billions in tax breaks and subsidies for symmetrical fiber lines, then more recently voted to let Verizon completely off the hook for failing to meet agreement obligations. Making things worse, states like New Jersey then let Verizon lobbyists sell them on deals that gut the company's remaining obligations to users in these states, meaning what service that remains labors under a completely deregulated environment where there's no punishment for total Verizon apathy.

So with Verizon pretty obviously neglecting its aging copper networks, it's pretty amusing to see a Verizon rep try to tell the Journal that's simply not happening:
"It’s pure nonsense to say we’re abandoning our copper networks," Mr. Young said. Mr. Young said the company is investing in its copper network, and it only offers Voice Link as a temporary replacement while repairs are being done. About 13,000 customers have decided to keep the Voice Link service, Mr. Young said."
Except it's hard to insist a claim is "pure nonsense" when anybody with eyes (or a rural Verizon DSL and phone connection) can see what Verizon's up to. Verizon's been particularly distasteful in its recent decisions to use storm damage (be it Hurricane Sandy or other major storms) to simply refuse to upgrade damaged DSL and POTS (plain old telephone service) lines, instead shoving customers toward the Voice Link service Mr. Young highlights. Except Voice Link is less reliable and provides numerous fewer features than the fixed lines it's replacing, something that has annoyed locals and municipalities.

So while the unions' arguments are obviously self-serving, they're highlighting a pretty important problem that's still managing to fly under the radar despite being a topic of great importance to millions of impacted, neglected consumers. Verizon not only took billions in subsidies and failed to deliver fiber, they're now lobbying states for the right to neglect these remaining copper-based customers they simply couldn't care less about. In short, they've shafted these users from countless directions, in countless ways, for more than a decade. For Verizon to try and claim that these easily-documented problems are "nonsense" is a heaping dose of nonsense in and of itself.

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:12am

    Verizon is also abandoning their POTS customers as well. I wouldn't switch to fios, so one day my phone stopped ringing. Everything worked, except the phone wouldn't ring. I called for service and they said they would switch me over to fios. I refused.

    I called the state corporation commission who told me that Verizon had produced statistics that said fios was better than copper and that everyone was being switched over. The SCC said they effectively could no longer regulate Verizon.

    I canceled my Verizon service immediately. I had to go through one of those rehearsed "save" people. I had to use the "You're the phone company, you don't care. You don't have to." to get out. I still haven't had to use the "God told me to save the money and buy bullets" strategy yet.

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

  • icon
    Teamchaos (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:14am

    Stay tuned for more strange machinations as the broadband industry adapts to the changing regulatory landscape. The law of unintended consequences may well ensure that we'll get less competition, poorer service, and higher prices. But we will have Net Neutrality, which is a win. Right?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      We already have no competition in most parts of the US, so yes, net neutrality is a big win. Otherwise, how would you like to get 1bps to google because yahoo has an exclusive deal with your internet provider. Don't claim that was wasn't going to happen. Look at what Verizon did to Netflix by just doing some creative routing.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      "ensure that we'll get less competition"

      It's awfully hard to get less than the "effectively none" that we have now around these parts.

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      This shift was occurring long before, and well detached from, the net neutrality conversation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:25am

    It also means the end of dial-up, meaning that online radio will no longer need to provide dial-up level streams, saving money, which will be very important with the expiration of the small webcaster act after the end of this year and/or the implementatin of TPP resulting in higher royalty rates.

    The end of POTS means that dial-up internet with face its long overdue demise, and everything will go broadband.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:31am

      Re:

      POTS isn't being abandoned in rural America. Just in the big cities where FIOS is profitable. There are still a lot of places where POTS and dial up are the only internet available.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re:

        What happens if Microsoft, in some future version of Windows, decides to no longer support dial-up modems? They are already going to stop support for floppy disks in Windows 10.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 8:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Easy, you can switch to Linux or BSD, or stay with Windows and whatever software Microsoft deigns to give you.

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

          • identicon
            Jake, 16 Jun 2015 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Unless you bought your PC from a vendor who's intentionally gimped Secure Boot so that the OS is effectively burned to ROM, presumably because Microsoft's chronic inability to control code bloat is as good as rigging the motherboard to self-destruct the day extended warranty support ends.

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

        • identicon
          PRMan, 16 Jun 2015 @ 8:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not true. You can still install your own floppy disk drivers in Windows 10, they're just not part of the OS from install.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous, 16 Jun 2015 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Darn, what will I do with all my floppies?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 1:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Copy them into directories call floppy1..... you would either have to have a huge number of floppies or a very old machine for hard disc capacity to be a issue.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 7:49am

        Re: Re:

        Cell phones could replace POTS, even in rural areas, if the cellular providers would just put in more towers.

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

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 8:00am

    Actually a valid claim for some areas

    For once the spokescritter speaks the truth, at least for some areas. The catch is in the phrase 'abandoning'. The accurate description for many areas should be 'abandoned' as in past tense. They are not currently abandoning DSL customers, they're already abandoned. When FiOs was installed in my area for example, DSL service was immediately degraded. It went from its normal 'somewhat usable' to 'barely usable' to 'wtf completely unusable' in about two months. They're not still abandoning DSL here, it's fully abandoned. It may be a technicality, but they'll obviously use any method they can to avoid bad and accurate publicity.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 8:49am

    it's pretty amusing to see a Verizon rep try to tell the Journal that's simply not happening

    Amusing? It's already too sad to even call it depressing. This imbecile knows exactly what is happening, the company knows it is true but for PR purposes it's all good. And the Govt is happy to swallow that pill so far.

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

  • identicon
    Thrudd, 16 Jun 2015 @ 8:56am

    Nonsense

    So everyone is up nonsense creek.
    Hercules had to shovel the nonsense from the stables.
    Nonsense is on fire yo.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 9:33am

    Well, from the ISP side of things, I can tell you that yes they are pretty much doing away with DSL. We had a wholesale agreement with Verizon much like DSL Extreme and several other ISPs. Most of the support staff have been laid off or transitioned to other departments. Most of the contact email addresses are no longer valid and bounce back. The online portal has also been broken for over a year and I doubt that they will fixed it. To get an actual technician to fix a telephone issue, I've had to drive out to the location and test ATM sync levels at the NID and/or photograph telephone line repairs done with the ever so popular now Hefty trash bag.

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 16 Jun 2015 @ 2:17pm

      Re:

      Have consistently heard the same thing from their employees. Verizon was keeping its network together with Scotch tape in places like West Virginia before it sold them off to Frontier.

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

    • icon
      Muse 2005 (profile), 13 Jul 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      This is so true! Where I live, in a medium-sized town in Central PA, DSL Extreme is the only ISP available. I have used them for over a year, and when my first year contract was up for renewal they sent me an email telling me I could upgrade for faster service, which was something I really wanted to do because I had just had to disconnect my DirecTv and switch to HuluPlus (I am on a fixed income, and it was just getting too expensive, especially since I watched a lot of network TV - I have a very old Magnavox console that the previous tenants just left when they moved out).

      Anyway, I told them I wanted to upgrade and they told me, "Sorry, we made a mistake, we don't have the bandwidth." When I asked them to explain this - because I am an old bat who is not at all tech-savvy, they just kept repeating they didn't have bandwidth. They continued to send me promotional emails about it, and even when I went to their website and did the "input your address and we'll tell you if you can get these phenomenally fast speeds", it told me I could. But, sure enough, when I tried to actually upgrade, I got the "no bandwidth" reply.

      So now I have streaming that stops altogether in bad weather, buffers like crazy even on a good day, and have the choice of either buying a new TV and an antenna (my neighbor downstairs did that, and she gets 2 - yes, 2 - channels), go back to DirecTv, or put up with DSL Extreme. DISH is not an option because the landlady "doesn't want another satellite dish on the roof."

      My contract is up in October and I honestly don't know what I am going to do. Streaming using Verizon's data on my smartphone is out of the question, as my data is only 2 G per month and just one episode of one hour-long TV show will wipe that out, pretty much.

      I hate it but I don't know what to do.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 1:40pm

    These are not the POTS you're looking for, waves hand...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 1:53pm

    AT&T Uverse just started providing my neighborhood with service about 9 months ago. But then again, I live in a suburb of Kansas City that is scheduled to have Google Fiber sign-ups later this year. Funny how competition affects things...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jun 2015 @ 4:11pm

    Promises Made in Exchange for Tax Relief Are Contracts

    "Many of these lines were built on the backs of billions in taxpayer subsidies..."

    Howzabout naming the phone companies as respondents to a class action along the lines of "we'd like our money back...with interest"?

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

  • identicon
    Barbara cooney, 9 Dec 2015 @ 4:01pm

    Mr. Young is speaking a lie. Our home phone lines in Philadelphia has been static for a month now. Every time we call they "customer service" rep. tells us that Verizon is no longer fixing lines and that the only way we can get service restored is if we upgrade to Fios for a "comparable rate". Note that the "comparable rate" is another falsehood unless they just can't do the math at Verizon. Cost of Fios is $30 more a month bringing the monthly bill to over $200 a month. In the meantime, we pay our bill (as well as the service fee portion) for no phone service.

    The joke is on us. We called AT&T and were told that they don't service our area.

    So, I guess we'll give up our landline since we have no choice. I just want phone service. I do know I won't ever do business with Verizon again.

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

  • identicon
    Maureen M, 2 Mar 2016 @ 11:55am

    loss of internet and phone service

    I have had no landline phone service since 02/17/16. Internet services stopped yesterday (03/01/16). Verizon is no help. They claim it is a neighborhood outage and they are "working on it" - the Verizon site has completely dropped DSL - they only deal with FIOS customers

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

    • identicon
      ktymen, 8 Jun 2016 @ 5:54pm

      Re: loss of internet and phone service

      A FIOS tech came to our door saying DSL was being done away with.

      When I initially went online, I signed up for the guaranteed lifetime charge of $19.99 a month. I have suffered two TBI's, multiple head traumas and am wits end not knowing what to do.

      When we lose power here we still have both landlines, (one is a fax) but our FIOS neighbors lose theirs. I have amplified hearing on the home phone because of ruptured eardrums. Can anyone offer suggestions?

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

  • identicon
    bill, 25 Mar 2017 @ 10:34am

    Verizon is phasing out DSL and Wired Phoned Service

    I have been receiving constant mail from Verizon telling me that they are phasing out copper wired services (DSL,Phone). Their latest deadline is May 2017. They want their customers to upgrade to FIOS, problem is FIOS is not cheap and it is extremely invasive as far as installation. The utility companies have to be involved, they have to break up the sidewalk to run a cable into the foundation of a building, certain electrical requirements must be present, and then they only give 1yr at their current price, so what happens after the first year?, prices go up to probably more than $100 per month. Verizon can stick their FIOS where the sun doesn't shine.

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


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