Verizon offers yet another reason to be glad we’re in California

by Steve Blum • , ,

The usual suspects are viewing Frontier Communication’s purchase of Verizon’s wireline business in California with alarm, but maybe we should be counting our blessings. Out east, Verizon’s deployment of fiber to the home service seems to be falling short of the benchmarks it promised New York City it would meet.

According to a story in TechDirt (h/t to the Baller-Herbst list for the pointer), Verizon deployed its FiOS plant to about half the homes promised, and not the half that really needed the upgrade. TechDirt’s story pinned the C-word on Verizon’s business practices…

New York City only just woke up to the fact that the lucrative 2008 Verizon franchise deal the city thought would bring fiber broadband to 100% of all five boroughs, has only resulted in Verizon cherry picking about half of the city’s residents. Of course as we pointed out, if the city had actually bothered to read the closed-door agreement struck with former Mayor Mike Bloomberg (or listened to a few local reporters at the time), leaders could have noticed at any time that it contains oodles of loopholes allowing Verizon to wiggle over, under and around most of the obligations contained therein.

Yes, Cherry-picking. Essentially the same economically rational business strategy that Google Fiber is pursuing with its fiberhood program. Except Verizon is doing it as a legally sanctioned and subsidised monopoly.

There’s no guarantee that broadband service in rural California will improve if Frontier takes over, but given the company’s record of incremental improvements here it seems a safe bet that it won’t get worse, and not unreasonable to hope it’ll get at least a bit better.