New York Attorney General, consumer groups call for investigation of Verizon, NY telecom industry

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called for formal proceedings “to fully understand the impact of deregulation on consumers and businesses” in a letter to the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC). The NYPSC recently convened public hearings across the state, where elected officials and community members spoke out on the state of the telecommunications industry in their areas – and, in particular, against Verizon.

As Speed Matters reported, mayors from across the state and members of the public told the NYPSC that Verizon is abandoning its traditional landline network while refusing to build FiOS in their cities.

Schneiderman explained that public hearings and the NYPSC’s report aren’t enough. A formal proceeding in front of an administrative judge “provides for evidence-gathering, allows for cross-examination and counter-evidence, and concludes with a final order or decision by the PSC,” the letter read. The AG also suggested the proceeding could develop facts on the following issues raised at the hearings, calling Verizon out by name:


  • whether there is adequate competition for broadband service throughout the various regions of New York State, and whether there are any areas that are still essentially cable monopolies;

  • whether telecommunications companies are making honest representations about infrastructure build-out;

  • whether consumers are satisfied with the various voice service options available to New York consumers; and

  • whether Verizon is adequately upgrading or repairing its copper wire infrastructure, which is especially critical for New Yorkers who rely solely on landline service (in the absence of other voice options)

 

A New York group focused on the telecom industry, Stop the Cap!, also urged the NYPSC to launch a full investigation.

 Last year, the Connect New York Coalition – composed of consumer and labor organizations, and elected officials – called for the formal proceedings. The coalition emphasized that: "The single most constructive step you can take is to open a formal proceeding on the Petition. That would in no way interfere with the Study, but would assure, finally, that something will happen with respect to the interest of the public in a safe, reliable, affordable and efficient telecommunications system."

Letter to NYPSC (State of New York Attorney General’s Office, Aug. 18, 2015)

 

Elected officials, communities blast Verizon for failing FiOS buildout (Speed Matters, Aug. 17, 2015)

 

Letter for NYPSC (Stop the Cap!, Aug. 19, 2015)

 

Letter to NYPSC (Connect New York Coalition, July 6, 2015)