FACT SHEET: Verizon MA Fiber Optic Failure
In 1991, the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign announced their plans for the “Information Superhighwy”, which would upgrade America’s aging copper-based, state-controlled utilities with a fiber optic wire that would be done to rural, urban and suburban areas and completed around 2010.
Verizon (then NYNEX), announced a plan for New England Telephone that included Massachusetts. Now Verizon MA filed with the state Mass Department of Public Utilities to have 330,000 lines of fiber optic services, starting in 1994. This is an excerpt from the original filing and it included colleges and universities, hospitals, industrial parks and ‘residence and business access lines’.
The Boston Globe, July 9, 1994
“…Verizon said construction of the new network would begin in Somerville, Revere and Winthrop late this year or early next year, with service starting as early as mid-1995. Work would then start in Roxbury, Beacon Hill, Brighton, Back Bay, Brookline, Cambridge, Watertown, Peabody, Salem and Marblehead. … In all, 330,000 Massachusetts customers and 60,000 in Rhode Island would be linked to the network.”
“Offering Massachusetts residents their first break from cable television monopolies, New England’s regional telephone company yesterday proposed offering cable television service over its phone network in parts of Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and seven other communities as early as next year.
Verizon filed and was granted “alternative regulations”, which gave the company more profits so that it could use them to do this construction.
This same plan was also filed with the FCC known as “Video Dialtone”, which outlined in detail 330,000 homes in Massachusetts were to be rewired immediately, the majority of the entire state would be finished by 2010. Here are Verizon’s own words:
“On July 8, 1994, NYNEX filed two (Section 214) applications…to provide video dialtone service in Massachusetts proposes a system that will pass approximately 334,000 homes and businesses.”
[FCC 95-50 Order and Authorization, released 3/6/95]
“NYNEX proposes to deploy hybrid fiber optic and coaxial (HFC) broadband networks that will provide advanced voice, data, and video services, including interactive video entertainment, multimedia education and health care services. The allocation plan provides for the offering of 21 analog channels, all but one of which will be used for over-the-air broadcast programming services, and, depending on compression rates, between 400 an 800 digital channels.”
“NYNEX plans to deploy this type of network to the majority of its customers by the year 2010.”
Complaint: In 1999 we filed a complaint in Massachusetts outlining how Verizon (then New England Telephone) convinced regulators that they would rewire the state starting in 1995 if the company got massive financial incentives – Deregulation — the removal of regulation that examined and limited their profits. Renamed The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy, the agency never acted on our complaint.
In fact, Verizon systematically did this same exact scam throughout their territories, including in RI, PA, NJ, NY, MD, DE, and the District of Columbia. Not be outdone, AT&T did this same thing in most of its states.
- Harvard Nieman article on the failure of the phone companies to rewire their territories, even though they collected over $200 billion nationwide.
- Where’s that broadband fiber-optic access?, March 14, 2006
In 2007: We presented testimony in front of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunications Utilities and Energy.
In 2005-2006, Verizon announced FiOS and that it would be deploying fiber optics in specific areas as a cable service under a cable franchise, but the entire wireline network would be “Title II” and part of the state utility, but stopped around 2010. And this did not do happen in Boston area, even though it was slated to be the first group of towns to be upgraded in 1994.
In 2016, Verizon announced it would be upgrading 100% of Boston and spend $300 million dollars. Instead, most of this has been a bait and switch to use the fiber optic wires that should go to homes to instead roll out wireless, and 5G Wireless.
2017: We also wrote a full report of analysis to show how Verizon MA had been manipulating the financial books, which was based on using manipulated accounting formulas that were controlled by the FCC
Report 7: SUMMARY REPORT: Verizon Massachusetts & Boston: Investigate the Wireless-Wireline Bait-n-Switch, January 17th, 2017.
2019-2020: This became part of our challenge of the FCC in April 2019, IRREGULATORS v FCC; On March 13, 2020, had a big win in that the state is now independent to go after billions of dollars in cross-subsidies and the dumping of corporate expenses into Local Service.
Verizon Wireless Bait & Switch: What Verizon Tells Investors But Has Been Hiding from the Public.
Everyone reading this will have heard that Verizon is now planning a future with 5G, a wireless service that requires a fiber optic wire every block or two and, simply put, is being done by diverting the state utility budgets and charged to local phone customers.
At the Oppenheimer 19th Annual Technology Internet Communications Conference, August 9th, 2016, Timothy Horan, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., asked Verizon about their Boston deployment:
“So are you deploying fiber differently now in Boston than you’ve done for FiOS in the past? Does each small cell need like their own fiber home run to that small cell? Are you going to be deploying a lot more fiber than you have historically?”
David Small, Verizon, EVP responded that they were doing a few small ‘suburb’ areas, and beyond that it will be wireless.
“Yes, we will. And so, as it relates to FiOS, we’ve announced a few of the suburb areas, for lack of a better word, for cities, sub cities that we are going to be building into. But beyond that, if you think about the use case for small cells and the coordination elements of the radio access network that need to occur between its corresponding home macro and the small cell, that suggests that, as a general rule, you need home runs from that small cell directly back to that coordinating macro-level cell site. And that’s exactly what we are doing.”
Notice that Verizon claims that the areas being covered are ‘suburbs’. In fact, Roxbury and Dorchester are neighborhoods of Boston, not the burbs.
Francis Shammo, former EVP, Verizon, stated at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, September 22, 2016:
“But it’s going to be a fixed broadband wireless solution.
“And if you think about the cost benefit of that, today, if you think about FiOS and what it costs me to connect a prem to FiOS. I have to lay the fiber down the street, but then I also have to then connect the home, go into the home, make sure the wiring is right, put in install the boxes, install the routers.
“If you think about 5G, you put the fiber down the road, which is what we’re doing in Boston. Then all of the labor and the expense of drilling up your driveway connecting the OT to your house and all the labor involved with that, all that goes away, because now I can deliver a beam into your — into a window with a credit card size receptor on it that delivers it to a wireless router, and there’s really no labor involved and there’s no real hardware other than the router in the credit card. So the cost benefit of this is pretty substantial, at least, we believe it is.”
We documented this slight of hand starting in 2015 in Huffington Post and then Medium articles
- Verizon’s FiOS Deployment in Boston Is Fiber-To-The-B.S.
- Billions in Cross-Subsidies Could Bring Fiber Optic Broadband to Massachusetts Cities—But Remain Unchallenged, 2017
- Verizon’s Boston FiOS Fiber to the Home Plan Needs Investigating—Now.
- Verizon’s Boston FiOS Fiber-Wireless Bait-N-Switch
- Verizon, Fiber, Boston, Wireless: History Repeats Itself, Yet Again., 2016
- Verizon’s Boston Faux-FiOS, “One Fiber” Strategy Exposed
- More Exposed: Verizon’s FiOS-Wireless Bait & Switch in Boston
- Verizon’s $300 Million Shell Game in Boston and Cross-Subsidizing Wireless
- Verizon, Boston, Bernie, Fiber and the Facts
- Verizon Wireless’s 5G Deployment is a 1 Gig Fairy Tale.
- Verizon’s Massive East Coast FiOS Scandal: 41 Percent Coverage Using ‘Weasel Room’ Math 2015
In the end, even though Verizon MA is the state-based telecommunications utility in 99% of the state this map from 2015 shows that most of Massachusetts was never properly upgraded to fiber optics.