Verizon set to stiff NJ on FiOS promises

According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Verizon is about to default on a promise made to New Jersey subscribers. “Verizon customers in New Jersey,” said The Inquirer, “have paid $15 billion in surcharges in return for the telecommunications giant's guarantee that it would deliver broadband internet to every resident of the Garden State by 2010."

It hasn’t. Bruce Kuschnick, a telecom analyst, told Philly.com (the online version of The Inquirer) this week that “only 55 percent of the state has been wired.” And it appears that Verizon will not be wiring the other 45 percent any time soon.

Last October, Speed Matters reported that, “CWA District 1 filed a written objection with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), raising the question of whether Verizon has met its franchise obligations, and whether the company deserved renewal.”

Verizon is claiming that it never made any such promise, and that in any case, the development of 4G wireless renders the promise moot. Under the Christie administration, Verizon will be allowed to offer wireless instead of FiOS which, according to a story in Newsweek, “... is fast for wireless, but painfully slow compared to FiOS.”

What is happening, said Kushnick – who is also chairman of the telecom watchdog TeleTruth – is they’re erasing the law. It’s a way of forcing customers onto wireless and getting rid of the traditional copper wiring.”

The result, he said is “Without FiOS, cable will be able to preserve its monopoly in underserved areas.”

Speed Matters believes that Verizon should live up to the spirit of its agreement and build out fiber to all New Jersey’s residents. It’s the least they can do for the $15 billion they’ve already been paid.

Will Verizon be allowed to break its FiOS promise to New Jersey? (Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar. 13, 2014)

CWA challenges Verizon’s NJ franchise
(Speed Matters, Oct. 31, 2013)

Telecom Giants Drag Their Feet on Broadband for the Whole Country (Newsweek, Mar. 11, 2014)