CWA Petitions Maryland Public Service Commission to Investigate Verizon Service Quality

New Evidence Shows Verizon’s Systemic Neglect of Telephone Infrastructure Leads to Inadequate Service Quality, Dangerous Conditions

Annapolis, MD - The Communications Workers of America (CWA) today filed a letter with the Maryland Public Service Commission calling on the PSC to re-open an investigation into Verizon’s quality of service on its copper network, which is the primary network serving much of the state, including Baltimore.  The letter included photos of deteriorating telephone equipment that pose a severe threat to service quality. 

The request comes on the heels of a request in September after Verizon admitted in a letter to the FCC that it had only spent $200 million over the last 7 years to maintain its copper landline network in Maryland and ten other states and the District of Columbia. 

“Verizon makes a profit of over $1.5 billion every month,” said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney.  “And yet it refuses to expand its high-speed network to Baltimore and other communities in Maryland, while systematically letting the existing network deteriorate.  Verizon needs to stop hoarding its cash and start investing in its customers and employees.”

CWA, in the course of representing its more than 3,300 Verizon workers throughout Maryland, examined Verizon’s equipment in areas of the state where Verizon has not built its new fiber network (or FiOS) and only offers service through traditional copper wiring.  The investigation documented numerous locations that are so damaged as to impact service quality.  This includes poles that are damaged, unsecured and broken, damaged and exposed cable and splice terminals, by-passed damaged cable, and equipment that shows evidence of damage caused by animals. 

The union says that Verizon’s systemic underinvestment in its traditional landline network violates the terms of the alternative form of regulation that the company is currently operating under.

Maryland law sets out a standard that permits the Public Service Commission to adopt – and Verizon to operate under – an alternative form of regulation.  Verizon is only allowed to operate under this alternative form of regulation if the Commission finds that it protects consumers by – at a minimum – producing affordable and reasonably priced basic service and by ensuring the quality, availability and reliability of telecommunications services throughout the State of Maryland.  The lack of investment, as evidenced by the deteriorating physical plant puts the quality, availability and reliability at risk.

Verizon’s lack of investment is not limited to Maryland.  The union filed a similar petition in Pennsylvania, where a lack of investment has led to dangerous conditions and service quality complaints.

Evidence of Verizon Neglect of Infrastructure (CWA, Nov. 16, 2015)

Letter to the Public Service Commission of Maryland (CWA, Nov. 16, 2015)