FREE REPORT and 8 Reasons to Demand Investigations of Verizon’s Opportunity New Jersey

CONTACT:

Bruce Kushnick bruce@newnetworks.com Tom Allibone tallibone@comcast.net

FREE REPORT and 8 Reasons to Demand Investigations of Verizon’s Opportunity New Jersey.

Write the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) to Stop the Stipulation Agreement.

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FREE REPORT: Full History (33 Pages):  Case Study: Verizon’s Opportunity New Jersey— A Broadband Failure. (From our new book.)

On Wednesday, April 23, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) is having a meeting and it will include the Verizon-BPU Stipulation Agreement to erase Verizon’s obligations to fulfill their commitments under Opportunity New Jersey.

In 1993, Verizon’s New Jersey signed an agreement to replace the copper wires of the state-based utility with fiber optic wires capable of 45 Mbps or more in both directions.

New Networks has been covering this since its inception and we filed with the State in 2006 and in 2013, and we highlighted this case in multiple books; the first was published in 1999.

Verizon has essentially lied to the public, failed to properly upgrade 100% of their territory, overcharged customers over $15 billion dollars — $4000-$5000.00 per household and counting, cost customers billions in extra cable charges, cost the State about $200 billion in lost potential economic growth, raised rates over 400% and harmed education and cost schools billions.

And I challenge Verizon to a debate over these issues. I will be using their own data.

1)     Verizon’s Plan: Shut Off the Copper and Force Customers onto Expensive Wireless.

While Verizon touts its FiOS speeds, Verizon’s plan for ½ the state — no cable competition, no very-high-speed broadband, force customers onto more expensive services while degrading of the State’s economic growth.

And Verizon is lying to the public about these plans. Philly News: “’Verizon does not have any plans to replace its copper network with wireless, if that’s what they’re saying,’ Gierczynski said.”And yet, Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s CEO stated in June 2012 to investors: Cut the copper off.

“And then in other areas that are more rural and more sparsely populated, we have got LTE built that will handle all of those services, and so we are going to cut the copper off there.”

2)         Verizon Committed Fraud in their Annual Infrastructure Reports.

This article outlines that Verizon New Jersey’s 2001 Infrastructure Report to the State claimed that they had 45 Mbps service in 55% of the State — which they still don’t have today. We quote their own documents.
3)         Verizon’s Spokesperson Proves Verizon Committed Fraud 

In Philly News, Lee Gierczynski claimed there were never any commitments.

“Verizon’s Gierczynski said there was never a guarantee that FiOS would be made available to anyone who wanted it.

“Nobody knew what FiOS was 20 years ago,” Gierczynski said. “It wasn’t until 2004 when FiOS came on the scene.”

Opportunity New Jersey started in 1993 and it was fiber optics and it was to wire 100% of Verizon’s entire state territory. This was news and it was a national story. The Los Angeles Times ran a Reuters piece in 1993. The title says it all:

“Information Superhighway Revs Up in New Jersey: Technology: State Bell company plans to bring fiber-optic wonders to every resident and business. Project is the result of a deal that deregulates part of the phone company.”

And it was always fiber optics. This is from the law, signed 1993.

“Staff submits that it is, therefore, important for the Board to monitor ONJ and require NJ Bell to commit to achieving the entire plan including fiber optic to the curb, so the project benefit becomes a reality STB138 to TB 139). (Emphasis added).”

Fraud? According to Gierczynski, the company failed to deploy fiber optics to upgrade the State’s utility networks from 1996-2004 at least. This would mean that they didn’t have 55% of the State covered with 45 Mbps services — to the home — by 2001.

4)         Verizon Lied About Rate Increases Over and Over.

Verizon claimed that they had no rate increase from 1985-2008. We documented that prices increased over 300%, and by 2014 they increased 440%.  We used actual phone bills.
5)         Verizon’s Charged Customers about $15 Billion Dollars and Counting.

This article uses Verizon New Jersey’s annual reports and tracks their profits, which more than doubled after the law was passed, among other major financial benefits to Verizon. And we quote other reports by experts.
6)         Verizon Cost Education Billions

This chart is from Verizon’s pricing to schools in 2008 which shows that the retail rate was $3,800 a month for 45 Mbps and with discounts it was $1,825.

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By that time almost the entire state should have been upgraded and the price for a 45 Mbps service should have been a couple of hundred dollars, retail, at best. Google charges $70.00 for a 1 Gbps speed (1000 Mbps) service, and other countries, like Hong Kong have been offering 1 Gig services for under $50 US dollars for years.

This meant that the schools were gouged because Verizon lied about its deployments and the children growing up never had the benefit of very fast broadband services.

7)         Is Governor Christie Involved in Helping Verizon?

On January 29th, 2014, the NJ Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) offered Verizon a stipulation agreement that will extinguish this commitment, which is only partially done.

Two weeks before, on January 14th, 2014, a new President of the Board of Public Utilities was installed and she was not only chosen by Governor Christie, but is part of his cabinet.

8)         Verizon Rigged the Comments.

Over the last few weeks three different news organizations examined the comments filed in support of Verizon New Jersey and the Stipulation Agreement and their conclusions can be summed up by the title of an article in the Consumerist:

“Verizon Brings Fake Grassroots Campaign to New Jersey to Claim Support for Not Bringing Real Broadband,” April 17, 2014

9)         Who Paid Us to do This?  No One.

  • Tom Allibone, president of LTC Consulting, lives in West Amwell and is a “Have Not” a town that is not being upgraded. Tom worked for New Jersey Bell and AT&T and is from a ‘legacy’ Bell family; his father, wife, aunts, uncles and even his grandfather worked for Ma Bell.
  • Bruce Kushnick, Executive Director New Networks, has  family, including cousins that  live in Jersey and has worked for the telcos as a senior telecom analyst.

As telecom experts for 30 years each, we are appalled that Verizon New Jersey would rather get the government to protect them by allowing the companies to provide inferior services at high prices, or even shutting customers’ off.

New Jersey was once the home of Bell Labs, one of the world’s premier telecommunications research facilities and the once great AT&T.

And now Verizon New Jersey has shamed us.  We hope that the State commission holds Verizon accountable and erases this bogus stipulation agreement. The economic health of the State hangs in the balance.

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