Consumer Protections and Good Jobs

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has allocated $100 million over two years to the new California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), whose goal is to incentivize companies to expand high speed Internet service to un-served, under served, low income and rural areas of California. Companies who apply are required to match a minimum of 60 percent of the funds they are given.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission has settled with FairPoint Communications on its attempt to purchase Verizon's Northern New England telephone lines. Despite this deal's attempts to resolve FairPoint's financial troubles, the end result would likely be counter-productive for Maine consumers.
The Vermont Public Service Board said a resounding "No" to the proposed sale of Verizon's landlines in northern New England to FairPoint Communications. The Vermont Board's decision left open the opportunity for Verizon and FairPoint to re-apply if it meets certain conditions to alleviate concerns about its finances. But if the companies offer Vermont the same settlement that they have proposed in Maine in response to similar concerns, it would not change the viability of this deal.
Maine regulators declined to approve a settlement between Verizon and FairPoint Communications despite Verizon's concession of nearly half a billion additional dollars to quell fears of FairPoint's financial instability. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) contend that high speed Internet would not be improved or expanded with Maine's Verizon Communications operations in FairPoint's hands, as FairPoint is financially unstable and does not have sufficient funds for the advancements.
CWA has worked tirelessly to promote the availability of high speed Internet, and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has recognized these efforts, naming CWA Local 4321 President Frank Mathews to Ohio's new Broadband Council.
CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have released a report that shows the $600 million in tax savings Verizon would receive from its deal with FairPoint is enough to expand high speed Internet access to everyone in Verizon's current Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont service areas.
Speed Matters has just unveiled a brand new Speed Test widget that you can embed on your web site, blog, social networking profile, or wherever else you like.
Democratic presidential candidates Joseph Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, and Bill Richardson told Iowans of the critical importance of CWA's Speed Matters initiative during campaign events this week.
High speed Internet not only leads to economic growth, new jobs, widespread educational opportunities, and better access to health care resources, it can help stop global warming. According to Australian telecommunications company Telstra, widespread use of high speed Internet can allow for reductions of carbon emissions.
Even in the state of Florida, which is among the fastest of all states in terms of high speed Internet, about half of the state's population does not have high speed Internet access, leaving some Floridians frustrated and stuck with dial-up Internet. The Anschutz family, for example, lives in an area that is considered "too far out" to get high speed Internet service.