This is an the story of Verizon’s deployment of fiber optic networks in New York State as well as the cable franchise in New York City, which was to cover 100% of residential locations by 2014.
The Timeline and Primary Issues
- In 2004, Verizon announced its plans for FiOS, a group of phone, Internet, broadband and cable TV services that ride over a fiber optic network wire.
- In 2005, Verizon was able to get the New York State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) to agree that the fiber optic wire was simply an upgrade and enhancement of the existing NY State telecommunications utility. In fact, all of Verizon’s fiber optic networks are classified as a telecommunications, “Title II”, “common carriage” service under the Communications Act of 1934.
- Starting in 2006, the NYPSC granted Verizon deregulation and started the process of multiple rate increases on residential as well as business customers’ basic phone service; ancillary services were allowed to increase to ‘market pricing’.
- The NYPSC claimed that Verizon needed rate increases and deregulation for two primary reasons — building broadband infrastructure and financial losses, which were being caused by competition and was evidenced by access line declines.
- In 2008 and 2009, Verizon was granted two additional rate increases based on “massive deployment of fiber optics” and financial losses.
- In 2010, Verizon Corporate announced it was no longer going to upgrade customers with fiber optic service unless there is an existing, unfulfilled agreement.
- In 2012, Verizon Corporate announced it was going to ‘kill the copper’ and shut off the networks in unupgraded areas and force-migrate customers onto wireless or in upgraded areas, force-migrate to FiOS.
- In 2015, the NYPSC is revisiting the last decade of telecommunications and its Staff has published a report. Unfortunately, the Commission never audited the company or conducted a major telecommunications proceeding. The NYPSC is also addressing the Petition by Connect New York Coalition (which was based, in part, on previous NNI reports).