More than 20 years ago, Verizon asked the state of New Jersey to give them billions in tax breaks and other subsidies. In return, Verizon promised to deploy broadband to the entire state by 2010. Specifically, Verizon promised residents in New Jersey that they would wire the state with fiber capable of bringing at least “45 Mbps service to every state resident.”
In fact, some estimates show that Verizon customers throughout New Jersey have already paid about $13 billion in surcharges in return for the high-speed broadband that never came. Rather than simply finish the job, Verizon has tried stood firm in claiming that they have spent “billions investing in New Jersey” without explaining where that number comes from or why the majority of New Jersey still can’t access FiOS in 2015. Not that it matters, the agreement stated clearly that they would wire the entire state. Period.
After catching heat from state regulators, Verizon tried a new argument. According to Verizon, they have already finished wiring the state because everyone in the state has access to their cellular network. Nevermind that those speeds are still far below fiber optic, wireless service by Verizon still comes with expensive data packages, data overages and data caps.
It worked. Sadly, last year state regulators voted unanimously to approve a settlement with Verizon that lets Verizon proclaim that capped, expensive LTE service is “good enough.” Essentially, New Jersey residents will never see the fiber investment they paid for over the last two decades.
But over the last few months, Verizon continues to catch criticism from not just New Jersey customers but those from Pennsylvania and New York, who also gave Verizon billions in tax breaks in return for extensive fiber rollouts that never happened. People now seem to realize that Verizon’s goal the entire time was to keep FiOS as limited as possible, push as many customers off their old copper lines and to roll in the money that came with new wireless subscribers. Wireless is cheaper to maintain and comes with additional fees, data caps and overages.Now, Verizon is responding to the continued criticism. As NJ.com wrote about today, Verizon is now claiming that if you criticize them for their history with New Jersey, you must simply “fear new technology.”
But Verizon New Jersey spokesman Lee Gierczynski has called this “misplaced fear” resulting from “misinformation and misunderstanding about copper networks, fiber networks and the reliability of those networks.” “This is a classic example of how some people fear new technology so they reactively reject it instead of accepting it, no matter how irrational that fear may be,” Gierczynski said. He added: “I think people are going to look back and laugh …” – NJ.com
Verizon also tells NJ.com that people must realize that they don’t need copper lines anyway since Verizon offers a better choice for them, such as a Verizon service called VoiceLink. Now, is VoiceLink in any way an actual replacement for copper? Nah, but let’s not dwell on those pesky facts.