Verizon, New Jersey Cable and Broadband
Bruce Kushnick, New Networks
Tom Allibone, West Amwell resident.
- In 1993, Verizon New Jersey committed to have 100% of their territory rewired with a fiber optic service capable of 45 Mbps in both directions and completed by 2010. Known as “Opportunity New Jersey” (ONJ) state laws were changed to give the company billions of dollars in higher phone rates and tax perks.
- In 2007, Verizon received a system-wide cable franchise for FiOS TV, which only has commitments to complete 70 communities. .Verizon has done some upgrades in 352 municipalities out of 526 in Verizon territory. This means that literally 1/3 of communities, or as much as 1/2 of all customers, as there is no commitment to finish the majority of towns, much less expand into new areas.
- This cable franchise is up for renewal to be decided by December 2013. However, the state never examined the Opportunity New Jersey commitments in relation to the cable franchise.
- Schools and Libraries should have been wired. with 45 Mbps speeds at reasonable rates: “Access New Jersey was added to the commitments to wire schools and libraries, but Verizon’ s services were too expensive for most locations to order ‘high speed broadband”. And in the cable franchise, there was additional obligations but there has been little tracking of these requirements– or if they are in use.
- In 2012, two towns, Stow Creek and Greenwich, complained that had major phone service problems and that they had never been upgraded. The Sate issued a ‘show cause order’ asking Verizon to explain why they had not fulfilled their obligations or delivered quality service..
- In 2013, Verizon conceded and is wiring Stow Creek and Greenwich.
- Verizon’s plan is to close down all of the wires that are not upgraded and force customers into wireless services.
- In Mantoloking, Verizon refused to fix the aging copper after Sandy and forced customers onto Voice Link — a 1990′s styled wireless device that can’t do basic regular phone service applications like fax or alarm circuits.– However, by 2010, BEFORE the storm, Mantoloking should have been enjoying fiber optic-based services.
- Meanwhile, there is a new proposed deregulation bill that is going to return to New Jersey — getting rid of basic obligations and state oversight, but claims it is for internet and progress
- We estimate that Verizon collected over $15 billion dollars for upgrades to the state Public Switched Telephone Networks – PSTN, which did not occur. Even when the FiOS services are added, at least 1/3 of the State wasn’t upgraded.
- Verizon claims to have spent $2 billion dollars on the cable networks. However it appears that phone customers could have been charged for cable networks development and implementation. NOTE: cable service goes over a fiber optic service.
- Misrepresentation by Verizon to hide that their failure to do the upgrades. Verizon New Jersey was required by law to publish annual infrastructure reports claiming that they had fulfilled ONJ. In 2001, Verizon NJ claimed that 55% of the state had 45 Mbps in both directions– and yet, the company didn’t start deploying FiOS until at least 2006.