Is Verizon intentionally letting their landlines deteriorate for a wireless push?

by: William Neilson JrJuly 9, 2014


Verizon seems dead-set on trying to see how many states they can screw over in the Northeast part of the country.

After taking nearly $13 billion in subsidies and tax cuts from New Jersey to wire the entire state, Verizon decided against following through with their contract and instead paid off got the New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities to unanimously agree that Verizon LTE service was similar to fiber-to-the-home service. Nevermind that anyone who has Verizon LTE as their home internet service can tell you that you face low data caps, expensive plans and consistently average service for gaming, Netflix-watching, etc.


After taking around $2.1 billion dollars from the Pennsylvania, Verizon decided to simply pick and choose which areas they wanted to serve all the while taking the full amount of incentives from the state and leaving large portions of the state unserved.

After agreeing with New York to wire the entire state before 2014, Verizon has recently admitted that they will not in fact do such a thing (thanks to fine print that gives them a number of outs).

Now, New York has lawmakers, city officials and advocacy groups demanding an investigation into whether Verizon intentionally raised prices of landline service to kill off customers and therefore give Verizon an excuse to leave the landlines behind (even though they accepted the billions in tax cuts to build/maintain them) for the more expensive wireless or FiOS plans.

“Our investment in the City is historic, which is reflected in the citywide nature of our plan,” Azare said. “When our fiber deployment project is completed it will reach to each and every borough, neighborhood, boulevard, avenue and street, without regard to the demographics of a particular area.” – Monica Azare, Verizon senior vice president for New York and Connecticut.

Or not…

Now, New York is yet again about to start a fight with Verizon. In a petition filed and signed last week by almost one-third of the State Assembly members, mayors across the state, and a number of State Senate members (and others) to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), it is asserted that New York City customer phone bills went up 84 percent, while other services went up 132 percent.

Comparing Fixes To The Phone Unlocking Debate PublicKnowledge

As Ars Technica notes, lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups want the PSC to take a close look at Verizon’s finances. Why? Because on Verizon’s 2013 financial report with the New York State Commission, it shows that there was a decrease in operating expenses of about $3.8 billion from 2012 and an overall profit of $1.2 billion (up from a previous year loss of $2.6 billion). What happened exactly? We don’t know just yet.

This is not the first time that Verizon has faced complaints about the deterioration of landlines in California:

The Utility Reform Network (TURN) has filed a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission, claiming that Verizon is refusing to repair lines — or pushing people on to digital voice services — without the customer often understanding the migration or having given their consent. Verizon’s approach is two-fold. In many areas the company wisely wants to migrate DSL and POTS customers — especially those on troubled lines — on to FiOS services in order to provide more reliable service with lower maintenance costs. On the other side, Verizon is looking to simply hang up on many rural customers and migrate them to more expensive wireless as part of an improved profitability move. – Broadband Reports

For a company that made almost $5 billion in profit last quarter, it seems suspicious that they can’t afford to keep DSL lines operational.

Verizon recently got rejected from hanging up on New York areas that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. While Verizon tried their best to bury the story, it got national attention that Verizon wanted to push their VoiceLink service which nobody wanted outside of Verizon. Verizon wants to hang up these DSL areas so that the broadband landscape of the country can move towards wireless technology that costs wireless providers significantly less to handle while billing customers for high overages.

2014-Infonetics-1st-Ed-Cpx-Rev-Opex-Subs-Database-Chart BusinessWire

Can we please audit how much taxpayer money has gone to Verizon from federal and state governments over the years and do a direct comparison to actual build and maintenance costs? Although Verizon loves to cry foul about the state and federal governments, nobody is blocking Verizon from upgrading their landlines to fiber.

  • Victor Who

    Sorry, but this is a big “SO WHAT?”

    We should all want Verizon to go wireless, because there is more competition in that space than there is Copper. Competition is the only way to get products and services cheaper.

    The “Public Knowledge” chart is kinda laughable. Though some of the green checkmarks are true, they are no longer very necessary due to the internet. Landlines are not going away, they are just becoming less and less important.

    • smokebomb

      Hahahahaaha. Competition. That’s cute. Do you live in the U.S.?!

    • Well no, they are going away as AT&T has actually cut off landlines in several cities and Verizon wants to do the same.

      After years of subsidies, they are now wanting to run away? Do residents get their money back?

    • Paul Russell

      I agree with you that competition, and I would add innovation, in a free market are good things. Competition & Innovation drives down the costs of goods & services while improving the quality. However, what Verizon & AT&T are engaged in is crony capitalism and it is far from a open free market. By “donating” money to politicians and other government officials, Big Red & Blue are setting up the field in their favor.

      Also, the Internet may have usurped may traditional telephone services, such as using Skype or other Voice over IP services. Things that used to send imformation over PSTN/POTS can now send that imformation over an IP network, for example there are standards, similar to VoIP, for sending faxes. However, without the traditional copper telephone lines, there would be no Internet. Firstly, when the Internet was invented to connect computers together, it was done through the telephone system. And Second, the majority of people in the world still access the Internet using copper phone lines. DSL continues to be the dominant technology for broadband access with in excess of 350 million subscribers globally, as of 2012

  • Will Maitner

    There is still a requirement for copper lines until wireless can get a 99.9% uptime record and for as long as there are data caps.

  • S Prime

    It is all about Big Red Greed and political pay off.

  • Elron The Elder

    Why does Verizon have to make more profit for the CEO? Now is the time to give back to the customers.

    • smokebomb

      If you hold your breath for Verizon to “give back to the customers” you’ll probably die first.

  • smokebomb

    To answer the article title’s question: if it’s Verizon, most likely.