California wake up call is Verizon’s headache

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Verizon’s objections to proposed changes for broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) would be forgivable coming from an east coast venture capitalist who woke up on Redondo Beach with a raging hangover and a contract stapled to his naked chest awarding him ownership of the local telephone system. But not from an incumbent telco that claims to be perpetually upgrading its network in California.

In a ranting letter, submitted as comments on a draft of new CASF rules last week, a Verizon staff lobbyist wrote…

The draft would require existing providers to submit a letter by September 26, 2014 that declares its intent to upgrade any area in all of California that is not served. This would require each provider to inventory all of its service areas, identify all households that are unserved or underserved, analyze the areas to determine if an upgrade is feasible, and prepare letter [sic] identifying these areas.

Let’s see. Inventory service areas and identify under and unserved homes? Supposedly, Verizon does that every six months when it reports its broadband coverage to the CPUC. Having worked with that data, though, I can understand why Verizon might be worried that it doesn’t have a good grasp on what it’s actually doing. Determine if an upgrade is feasible? Isn’t that what it did when it invested millions – no, hundreds of millions – of dollars upgrading its wireline infrastructure in California. But sure, Verizon might have just thrown darts at a map.

“Prepare letter identifying these areas”? Okay, that’s a fair point. Verizon has spent all its money on improving service here and can’t afford to proof read a two page letter. Since documenting its service shortcomings would take a book, I’m convinced its staff couldn’t handle it.

So let’s help. If we pass the hat, I’m sure Californians will chip in enough to buy Verizon a bottle of aspirin and a grapefruit.