Verizon says screw you California (and Texas and Florida), we're not gonna upgrade

24 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Frontier says it’ll try, Verizon says fuhgeddaboudit.

Verizon is finally saying flat out that it’s not going to improve its pitiful wireline infrastructure in California, and in particular it’s not going to upgrade any more copper telephone systems to modern broadband standards or capabilities. That’s probably not the intent of a joint filing made by Verizon and Frontier at the FCC as the two companies try to gain approval for their pending transaction. But it’s the plain meaning of what was said.

Frontier wants to buy Verizon’s wireline systems in California, Texas and Florida, and Verizon wants to sell. The two companies hired a Beltway law firm to speak on their behalf at the FCC. In a response to questions posed by FCC staff, the companies said

Verizon did not have any specific plans to…improve broadband service and speeds in [its service areas in California, Texas or Florida] prior to the Transaction’s announcement, beyond satisfying Verizon’s preexisting obligations.

And if Verizon didn’t have any upgrade plans before it decided to sell its Californian wireline systems, it sure doesn’t have any now that it’s working as hard as it can to unload them.

According to the filing, Verizon only offers broadband service to 73% of its wireline phone customers in the three states, while Frontier delivers it to 92% of its subscribers, despite having territory that’s far more rural in character. On that basis alone, the companies argue, the deal is a win for Californians (okay, and Texans and Floridians, too).

It’s refreshing when big telecoms companies tell the truth, even when it’s a self serving threat.