from the please-sir-may-I-have-another dept
In the hopes of getting Verizon to change course, fourteen mayors from cities in New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Massachusetts have joined forces and written a letter to the telco (pdf) literally begging the company to upgrade its network and give a damn about its paying customers:
"Our cities lie within the core footprint of Verizon Communications and have long valued the quality jobs and fiber upgrades that Verizon promised to bring to our communities...But consistently and increasingly, our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them. These are not isolated complaints – there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution."And again, these aren't just neighborhoods that Verizon promised (and was paid) to upgrade to fiber, these are areas where Verizon is now not even willing to repair DSL lines -- even after natural disasters. You see, it's a much better deal for Verizon if you ditch your unlimited-consumption DSL line and instead sign up for a shared wireless data plan with overages of $15 per gigabyte. And with no fixed-line broadband competition and an industry awash in regulatory capture, Verizon doesn't have to much care what you think about it letting taxpayer-funded fixed-line infrastructure rot on the vine.
Indeed, the Mayors make it clear they've raised these concerns with Verizon repeatedly, and the company simply couldn't care less:
"Based on irrefutable evidence of your company’s poor service record, lack of transparency and accountability, or demands for exclusive agreements with landlords throughout the region, we are deeply concerned that you have not acted like a good corporate citizen and that an incomplete FiOS rollout will result in decreased competition and the reduction of benefits to consumers throughout the Verizon footprint. As elected officials, it is our obligation and our responsibility to bring these complaints to your attention."That sound you hear is Verizon engaged in a good belly laugh, realizing that, like most incumbent ISPs, it all but controls most state legislatures and regulatory agencies, which is why few if any of them have done much to help shore up last-mile broadband competition. Verizon's now going state by state getting these loyal politicians to sign off on gutting all remaining regulations governing DSL and POTS (plain old telephone service), under the promise that wireless will finally unveil the amazing telecom future the telco was paid to deliver with fiber years ago.
So while it's understandable that the Mayors of cities like New York, Buffalo, Newark, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are annoyed at Verizon, they might find it to be more productive to write to state leaders who've spent the better part of a generation now idiotically throwing money at Verizon in exchange for hot air and legalese.