Verizon Thinks It's A Good Idea To Mock New Jersey Taxpayers After Ripping Them Off For Years

from the so-long-suckers dept

We've noted a few times how Verizon has a rich history of taking taxpayer money, subsidies and tax breaks, then promising fiber deployment that never occurs. When it then comes time for local municipalities to hold the telco's feet to the fire, campaign contributions ensure any investigation is short lived. It happened in Pennsylvania, it happened in New York City, and it recently happened in New Jersey, when state officials let Verizon off the hook for a 1993 promise to evenly deploy fiber across the state in exchange for billions in benefits.

Shortly after state officials let Verizon walk away from its obligations, they also granted Verizon exemption from regulations requiring it continue servicing DSL customers whose lines were paid for in large part thanks to billions in subsidies. As we've noted, companies like AT&T and Verizon are hanging up on customers they don't want to upgrade, and forcing them instead to notably more expensive and capped wireless services. Many customers would prefer Verizon maintain or upgrade their fixed-line broadband connections, since they've paid an arm and a leg for them.

About fifty annoyed municipalities have now formed an alliance aimed at holding Verizon's feet to the fire. Collectively, they're trying to explore ways to hold Verizon accountable, require it to deliver promised upgrades, or at the very least maintain existing DSL lines until something better comes along. Verizon's response? To mock these people as Luddites:
"But Verizon New Jersey spokesman Lee Gierczynski has called this "misplaced fear" resulting from "misinformation and misunderstanding about copper networks, fiber networks and the reliability of those networks." "This is a classic example of how some people fear new technology so they reactively reject it instead of accepting it, no matter how irrational that fear may be," Gierczynski said.
Except that's not what's happening here at all. People aren't angry because they're afraid of fiber upgrades, because the majority aren't getting those upgrades. They're angry because Verizon's trying to shovel them to "good enough" wireless service with low caps and steep $15 per gigabyte overage fees. Like AT&T, Verizon would have you believe that having your less expensive, unlimited DSL line replaced by a hugely expensive LTE connection (you may not even be able to get) is a step into the Utopian telecom future. Verizon's spokesman shows just how tone deaf the company is by then suggesting these folks should be mocked:
"He added: "I think people are going to look back and laugh at people ... just like who were a part of the Anti-Digit Dialing League."
Of course what people are actually going to look back on and laugh (or cry) at is Verizon's ability to take billions in subsidies, do little to nothing with it, convince regulators to turn the other cheek to outright theft, then mock annoyed consumers when they try to complain.

Filed Under: broadband, innovation, new jersey, subsidies
Companies: verizon


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 4:42am

    Standard, if sleazy, debate tactic

    If you can't respond and answer the arguments being used against you, and the points being raised, belittle and mock the one(s) raising them.

    Completely abandon the defensive, don't respond to any of the questions or points raised, but go on the offensive instead. Doing this puts the one(s) criticizing you on the defensive, and suddenly they, not you, have to defend their stances and actions. If they try and hold your feet to the fire, and direct the conversation back to their original question, act offended or condescending and spin it as them 'getting defensive' and 'not wanting to answer a simple question'.

    Rinse and repeat until your opponent hopefully just gives it up in disgust, and then declare yourself the winner(by default, but leave that part out).

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

    • identicon
      mcinsand, 12 Aug 2015 @ 6:33am

      Re: Standard, if sleazy, debate tactic

      TOG, you've really hit a nerve for me, and it's one reason I dread our upcoming political season. Whatever issue, and whatever side, the passive demeaning in a debate, discussion, or article immediately turns me away. When I see key words or phrases like 'common sense,' 'reasonable,' 'rational,' etc., I immediately turn off. If you can't stand on actual merits of your position, then don't waste my time. Make your argument on the facts without underhandedly calling the other side unreasonable or irrational.

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

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re: Standard, if sleazy, debate tactic

        Yep - notice that the name calling is once again used to discredit an argument by conflating it with another argument that is "commonly accetpted top be discredited".

        It doesn't matter if the two arguments are completely unrelated - so long as your words have a vaguely plausible ring.

        Now add "Luddite" to the list that already includes:

        **ist
        **phobic
        **-denier

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

    • identicon
      RD, 12 Aug 2015 @ 7:08am

      Re: Standard, if sleazy, debate tactic

      Oh, so just like every shilltroll who comments here then.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 6:03am

    Verizon, and it friends are working towards the perfect business model, being paid for promises that they never have to deliver.

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 6:15am

    "This is a classic example of how some people fear new technology so they reactively reject it instead of accepting it, no matter how irrational that fear may be,"

    Yep, Verizon is out of touch.

    Clearly the people of New Jersey are only following the lead as displayed by the MPAA, RIAA, every other gatekeeper, copyright, patent, and DRM supporters.

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 6:16am

    Dammit! Forgot to close the bold tag. Will we ever get an edit option? *sigh*

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 6:35am

    '"This is a classic example of how some people fear new technology so they reactively reject it instead of accepting it, no matter how irrational that fear may be," Gierczynski said.'

    ...Says the guy working for the company that's trying to get out of it's lawful obligations for new technologies.

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

  • icon
    paul (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 6:54am

    These municipalities are missing an opportunity here. Rather than waste time, money, and breath fighting Verizon, they should instead pour those resources into a municipal broadband offering and cut Verizon out of the loop entirely.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 12 Aug 2015 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      That. And then mock Verizon back.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 7:32am

      Re:

      sure... at the same time get their damn money back from Verizon.

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

    • identicon
      Zonker, 12 Aug 2015 @ 11:46am

      Re:

      Take a lien out on Verizon's existing copper and fiber optic infrastructure in your municipality. If Verizon does not either complete the required upgrades/maintenance to service the entire area or pay back all subsidies collected to date, repossess/foreclose the infrastructure and use it to kick start your municipal network.

      After all, this is a debt Verizon owes to the taxpayers.

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

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 14 Aug 2015 @ 7:57pm

      Re:

      Except that these municipalities probably passed laws against municipal broadband at the lobbying of incumbents, leaving holding Verizon responsible for living up to its broken promises their only option.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 7:50am

    Verizon just another company that's grown too big this is the issue above all others , a smaller company would be afraid to lose customers to big to fail and lots of money in politicians pockets.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 8:02am

    There is a simple way to deal with this. Don't use Verizon as your service provider. Vote with your money going somewhere else. That is all they understand.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 8:18am

      Re:

      why do you think that they spend money on laws that prevent any real competition? They are keeping their customers by making sure that they cannot go elsewhere.

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

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 12 Aug 2015 @ 9:30am

    Treat em like us

    if I do not pay my taxes, do not pay my lawfully issued tickets, or even do not pay Student Loans or other privately made obligations, the State can and will take my property away to clear that debt.

    So why don't they do the same to Verizon? Just take their entire business in the state of New Jersey. The taxpayers did pay for it, the company failed to uphold its end of many legal and valid contracts. Sue them with the intention of taking over the network rather than making them pay. Cost them a business sector (including wireless!) and see if they don't hop smart in other states all of a sudden.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 1:53pm

    If they are unwilling to maintain it, then they have abandoned it. Let someone else come in and take over.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.