Net Neutrality

The Net Neutrality debate rages on and the issue is more like responses to a Rorschach test used in psychology profiling than based on facts.

  • Some NN advocates believe we should ‘reclassify broadband’ and Internet as “Title II”.
  • Verizon, the other phone and cable companies, and even Verizon’s funded experts continuously claim that the use of something called “Title II” harms investment.

What is this thing called Title II? Click here.

Facts Overlooked.

There are some basic facts that have been overlooked. Verizon is using Title II for its fiber optic FiOS deployment and even the fiber optic wires are all put in as “Title II”.

Verizon New Jersey’s 2014 System-Wide Cable Franchise:

“Verizon NJ has been upgrading its telecommunications facilities in large portions of its telecommunications service territory so that cable television services may be provided over these facilities. This upgrade consists of deploying fiber optic facilities directly to the subscriber premises. The construction of Verizon NJ’s fiber-to-the-premises FTTP network (the FTTP network) is being performed under the authority of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and under the appropriate state telecommunications authority granted to Verizon NJ by the Board and under chapters 3 and 17 of the Department of Public Utilities Act of 1948. The FTTP network uses fiber optic cable and optical electronics to directly link homes to the Verizon NJ networks.”

In fact, because it is Title II, Verizon has been able to get the state-based utility rights of ways and even have basic residential phone customers pay for the construction of these “Title II” networks, as we documented in New York. And it  appears to be happening in every Verizon state and most likely in AT&T’s states as well.

Summary of Comments,  FCC and State Filings, Reports, and Use of our Research and analysis by Connect New York, NASUCA, and Others. 

Over the last decade, New Networks Institute has been heavily involved with these issues. Here are some recent activities.

NNI has pre-released a new book which supplies the entire story of broadband, net neutrality and the regulatory, legal and policies decisions that have and will shape your communications.

We filed a letter with the FCC (and sent to Congress) in the Net Neutrality proceedings , which gives an overview about Verizon’s use of Title II — The Appendix has a group of cable franchise excerpts — direct quotes from Verizon that their entire FiOS deployment is based on using Title II. The appendix also includes quotes from Verizon that Title II harms investment and deployment of broadband.

Verizon’s FiOS Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) Networks are Already Title II in Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York…

“Title Shopping is the use of different regulatory classifications for the same product or service in different local, state and federal regulatory or legal proceedings. It is designed to maximize the ‘regulatory’ benefits that would not be available if only one classification was applied.”

These comments details some of the conflicts of what Verizon has told the FCC and the public, as compared to their us of Title II today and how the company uses different ‘title classifications in different jurisdictions to help the company, not necessarily their customers.

In May 2014, Public Utility Law Project, published this report, written by New Networks Institute, with the assistance of David Bergmann, Esq, as well as New Networks’ team of experts, lawyers and auditors. (David is the former counsel for the Ohio Consumer Counselor.

The report is based Verizon’s New York’s SEC state-based financials, compared to Verizon’s New York’s Public Service Commission Annual report financials, and it has uncovered a number of issues. In NY, Verizon was granted multiple rate increases for “massive deployment of Fiber optics” because the networks are based on Title II. It also gives the deployment of FiOS and upgrades and discusses massive cross-subsidies between and among Verizon New York and Verizon’s affiliate companies, including Verizon Wireless.

Using the report and previous work. As I mentioned, in July 2014, a new group with Consumer Union, AARP, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America (CWA) and politicians filed with the NY state PSC to investigate some issues including the cross-subsidies of the wireline and wireless companies. While it used our data, we didn’t have inputs into the petition and we would have added some other items about the use of Title II.

National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocate, NASUCA,  Filings on Net Neutrality.

  • NASUCA ex parte Docket No. GN 14-28 et al., (6/30/14) at 4, footnote 13.
  • NASUCA reply comments (9/15/14) at footnotes 50, 51.
  • NASUCA reply comments (9/15/14) at 14, footnote 55.
  • NNI Report and call for an Investigation by Common Cause, Consumer Union, CWA, 2013
  • In 2013, our next report focused on Verizon New York and was the centerpiece of a filing by Common Cause, Consumer Union, CWA, and the Fire Island Association, which called for an investigation of Verizon’s financials and business practices.
  •  Report: Verizon Shell Game, 2012
  • In 2010, New Networks  started an investigation of the financial books of  five Verizon’s state-based utility phone companies,  including Verizon New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania  and  the ties to Verizon Communications affiliate companies, (subsidiaries) including Verizon Wireless, Verizon Online, Verizon Services, among others.

Huffington Post Articles: May-October, 2014



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *