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Time Warner Cable: AT&T, Verizon Cannot Meet Broadband Demand With 4G Wireless Technology

freewifiA new research report issued by Time Warner Cable concludes cell phone companies like AT&T and Verizon Wireless cannot meet the future data demands of customers over their 4G LTE wireless networks without punitive usage caps and high fees to deter usage, even with new spectrum becoming available for the wireless industry’s use.

The report, authored by Michael Calabrese of the New America Foundation, finds an answer to this problem in Wi-Fi, which can offload wireless traffic and deliver wireless service customers already prefer:

There is simply not enough exclusively licensed spectrum to meet the rapidly rising demand for wireless data, to sustain a competitive market, and to keep prices at an affordable level.

Major mobile carriers are increasingly coming to grips with this reality. The Wireless Broadband Alliance, a global industry group, reports that Wi-Fi offloading has become an industry standard as “18 of the world’s top 20 largest telcos by revenue have now publicly committed to investing in deploying their own Wi-Fi Hotspot networks.” The industry is shifting steadily toward what it calls heterogeneous networks (HetNets)—i.e., a combination of licensed and unlicensed infrastructure—in order to meet their customers’ insatiable demand for data while keeping costs down.

Alcatel-Lucent forecasts an increase of “87 times [the current] daily traffic on wireless networks” over the next five years, with 50 percent of that traffic on cellular networks “while the remaining 50 percent will be offloaded to Wi-Fi.”

Cisco’s own studies back Calabrese’s findings on consumer preference towards Wi-Fi.

twc“Given a choice, more than 80 percent of tablet, laptop, and eReader owners would either prefer Wi-Fi to mobile access, or have no preference,” Cisco concluded. “And, just over half of smartphone owners would prefer to use Wi-Fi, or are ambivalent about the two access networks.”

The Cisco surveys found users are choosing Wi-Fi over mobile connectivity for reasons of cost, “because it doesn’t impose data-usage caps or reduce their mobile data plan quotas.” But the primary reason for choosing Wi-Fi “is that respondents find it much faster than mobile networks.” And since Wi-Fi traffic travels over increasingly upgraded wireline networks, that speed differential may only increase as more and more homes, businesses and retail outlets upgrade to fiber optic or other high-speed connections of 100Mbps or more.

America’s largest wireless carriers have fallen far behind offering Wi-Fi services to customers compared to their overseas colleagues:

  • AT&T: More than 32,000 Wi-Fi hotspots are available at partnered retail businesses, restaurants, and high-traffic areas like stadiums and major tourist destinations;
  • Verizon Wireless: Verizon has an insignificant Wi-Fi presence, with a small number of unadvertised hotspots in selected venues like airports and convention centers;
  • Japan’s NTT DOCOMO: Up to 150,000 hotspots, up from only 8,400 in 2o12.
  • China Mobile: More than 2 million hotspots are up and running carrying 70 percent of the company’s data traffic.
  • France’s Free Mobile: More than 4 million residential hotspots are available through Free’s parent – Iliad.
Comcast could soon be the nation's largest Wi-Fi hotspot provider.

Comcast could soon be the nation’s largest Wi-Fi hotspot provider.

Calabrese argues it is important for the United States to set aside significant spectrum for unlicensed wireless networks like Wi-Fi to meet future wireless demands. Currently, some Republican members of Congress are opposed to significant spectrum set asides they feel could best be monetized for private use through the spectrum auction process.

It is no coincidence that Calabrese’s findings would be released by Time Warner Cable which itself is growing a Wi-Fi presence in certain cities where it provides cable service.

The wireless carriers’ collective lack of interest in an aggressive nationwide Wi-Fi deployment may have provided a strategic opening for cable operators to fill that gap with Wi-Fi networks of their own. Cable operators consider them a useful tool to retain customer loyalty — access is typically free and unlimited for current customers.

This summer, Comcast announced a “neighborhood hotspot initiative” that will turn millions of customer cable Internet connections into shared Wi-Fi hotspots using a dual-use wireless home gateway. The equipment will offer two separate Wi-Fi signals — one intended for the customer and the other open for use by any Comcast customers in the neighborhood. The cable company will provision extra bandwidth for the open Wi-Fi network to ease concerns that guest users could theoretically slow down a customer’s own Wi-Fi channel. In a relatively short period, Comcast could become the nation’s biggest Wi-Fi network offering more than 20 million hotspots hosted by the company’s own broadband customers.

Calabrese points to the future of seamless transitions between wired, wireless 4G and Wi-Fi network access without dropping calls or data connections. Many customers won’t even know the difference.

The author recommends the FCC think about reserving space for new unlicensed “citizens band” frequencies dedicated for public and private Wi-Fi networks:

  • The FCC should reorganize the UHF TV band to ensure the availability of at least 30 to 40MHz of unlicensed spectrum in every media market, perhaps including Channel 37 (now reserved for radio astronomy) and eliminating two dedicated channels reserved for wireless microphones;
  • Open the grossly underutilized 3.5–3.7GHz federal band for unlicensed small cell antennas delivering a ‘Citizens Broadband Service.’ This band is now mostly used for offshore naval radar, allowing both services to co-exist without mutual interference;
  • Expand unlicensed access to the 5GHz band by allocating the 5.35–5.47 and 5.85–5.925GHz bands providing contiguous, very wide channels useful for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard that can support very high-speed wireless services.
http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/XFINITY Wireless Gateway Powers Connected Home Summer 2013.flv

Comcast talks about their new X3 Wireless Gateway which is capable of providing two separate Wi-Fi networks, one for the customer and another for the neighborhood. (2 minutes)

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Stolen/Lost Wireless Device? Verizon Wireless Charges California Customer Fees to Suspend/Transfer Service

They are coming.

If your smartphone goes missing or gets stolen, should you still have to pay Verizon Wireless for service you no longer have?

Verizon Wireless apparently thinks you do, even if you are beyond your two-year contract and pay month-to-month.

KGO-TV’s consumer reporter discovered Verizon Wireless dings customers coming and going.

Bonnie Mich, a Verizon Wireless customer in Healdsburg, was stunned when Verizon insisted she had to keep paying service charges on a cell phone she no longer owned.

“I said, ‘I don’t have a phone. I’m not under contract. I have no service from you. That is ridiculous,’” Mich told 7 On Your Side reporter Michael Finney. “I was angry. I didn’t think it made sense.”

Although Verizon did agree to suspend the calling plan portion of her bill for the missing phone, it wouldn’t agree to do it for free:

surchargeA charge of $15.35 was applied six days after her phone was stolen. The explanation? Verizon charges a fee when a customer service representative temporarily suspends service on a lost or stolen phone.

The following month, Mich decided to take her business to another wireless company, but Verizon Wireless was ready for that possibility. Verizon Wireless placed a block on number transfers, meaning Fich wasn’t going anywhere until Verizon was paid an extra $17.51 in service charges to remove the phone number transfer block.

Mark Toney, executive director of the Utility Reform Network told KGO Verizon had no justification for charging those fees and called the situation “a total rip off.” Toney advised customers to complain directly to state regulators and demand Verizon Wireless credit the charges and/or refund the customer.

When KGO called Verizon, an apology came quickly:

“We did not meet our own standards and reiterate our apology to our customer,” Verizon said in an e-mail message to the television station, promising a refund.

Mich reports she is still waiting.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/KGO San Francisco Do you have to pay the bill if your cellphone gets stolen 10-3-13.mp4

KGO in San Francisco reports a stolen or lost Verizon Wireless cell phone can be cost you more than you think. (3 minutes)

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Verizon Pushing Deregulation Bill Through Mass. Legislature; Ends Universal Service, Oversight

Verizon-logoA sweeping deregulation measure sponsored by Verizon Communications would end the telephone company’s obligation to provide landline service and remove state-mandated customer quality of service standards in Massachusetts.

House Bill 2930, “An Act modernizing telephone regulation and encouraging economic growth,” introduced by Rep. Stephen L. DiNatale (D-Fitchburg) is succinct:

SECTION 1. Chapter 25C of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 7 thereof the following sections.

Section 8. Notwithstanding any other general or special law to the contrary, the department shall have no jurisdiction, general supervision, regulation or control over wireless service, including mobile radio telephone service, or radio utilities.

Section 9. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, subject to the provisions of section 10 of this chapter, no provision of this chapter, Chapter 25 or Chapter 159, 8 and no regulation, order or settlement or portion thereof adopted pursuant to any such provision, shall apply to any telephone company (or a common carrier offering telephone service) in any municipality for which the company or carrier certifies to the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation that there are at least two providers offering voice telephone service to retail residential customers in that municipality using any technology, including but not limited to wireless voice service and VoIP service.

Section 10. Nothing in sections 8 or 9 of this chapter shall be construed to affect or modify:
a. the authority of the attorney general to apply and enforce chapter 93A or other consumer protection laws of general applicability;
b. the department’s authority under sections 18B and 18H of Chapter 159, concerning enhanced 911 service, and under section 15E of Chapter 166, concerning telephone relay service;
c. the rights or obligations of any carrier under 47 U.S.C. § 251 or 47 U.S.C. § 252; or
d. the department’s authority to administer the federal Lifeline and Link-up programs or the Connect America Fund.

SECTION 2. Sections 11, 12, 12A, 13, 14 and 15 of Chapter 166 are hereby repealed.

The measure was discussed at a hearing this week before the Legislature’s Energy & Telecommunications Committee. Verizon argued its company is still regulated as if it was a monopoly, with reporting requirements and customer service mandates that do not apply to its competitors in the cable or wireless industry.

DiNatale

DiNatale

“We have to answer a customer’s call within x number of seconds,” said Verizon spokesman Phil Santoro. “If we don’t, we get penalized. No other company that provides phone service has to do that. They’re all regulations that were formed when we were a monopoly, and they haven’t been changed.”

Verizon lobbyist Joe Zukowski told the Boston Business Journal Verizon is required to respond to repair calls within a 24-hour window, something not required of its biggest competitor Comcast. Verizon has to report its annual finances and various customer metrics governing response times and outages to state regulators. Verizon also has to offer landline service anywhere in its service area across most of the state, while cable companies can pick the places they wish to serve.

DiNatale regularly supports Verizon’s legislative initiatives. In 2012, he proposed a bill to amend state law to remove the authority of the Department of Telecommunications and Cable to regulate the wireless industry, deferring instead to federal regulations that industry representatives said would level the playing field.

DiNatale suggested Massachusetts could be left behind if the legislature didn’t adopt the measure. Rep. Randy Hunt, a Sandwich Republican, asked if Massachusetts had missed out on any innovations in technology because of overregulation. Zukowski suggested a Massachusetts legislature hostile to business interests would make the company think twice about expanding its 4G LTE network in the state. By November, the bill was effectively buried in a legislative maneuver and by June 2013, Verizon announced it largely completed its 4G LTE upgrade, regardless of the bill.

DiNatale’s latest bill includes last year’s wireless oversight ban as well as forbidding the Department of Telecommunications and Cable from regulating Verizon in any part of the state where at least one provider of any kind offers competitive service.

Despite DiNatale’s attempt to ban state regulation of wireless service,  Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), argued at Tuesday’s hearing for (S 1617), “The Cellphone User’s Bill of Rights,” that would require clearly published prices and service policies, monitors the quality of cell service in the state, and limits all cell contracts to 12 months.

“Many people don’t have landline phones anymore. However, as wireless subscribership increases, so do complaints about the contracts and services,” Spilka told the committee.

Zukowski suggested that rural areas will still be covered by regulation where Verizon maintains a monopoly. But the legislation eliminates regulation from any part of the state where even one competitor promises to provide service. AT&T Mobility alone would give Verizon an effective way out of regulatory oversight, because AT&T claims it already provides solid service to the majority of the state.

AT&T Mobility claims its competing cell service is available across virtually the entire state of Massachusetts.

AT&T Mobility claims its competing cell service is available across almost the entire state of Massachusetts. The areas boxed in red are the only significant parts of the state without claimed coverage by AT&T.

There are only about three dozen or so towns in the state with no cable voice service, and even fewer with significant sections that have no cell phone service, all in the sparsely populated rural central and western parts of the state.

Other key components of this and another bill Verizon is supporting this term:

  • Verizon would end its commitment to provide universal service in the state. Under the terms of the bill, Verizon could also justify ceasing rural landline service and offer an alternative such as Voice Link, a wireless landline replacement not subject to state oversight;
  • Verizon would not have to report finances and customer service metrics and would no longer have to meet mandated customer service standards;
  • State authority to compel reliable E911 service without any charge to the calling party and mandates regarding service for the disabled are weakened or eliminated;
  • Elimination of a requirement providing Verizon customers with 10 free directory assistance calls per month, unless the customer is certified as elderly or disabled;
  • Impose clear terms that wireless service is off-limits to state regulators.

The bill is co-sponsored by: Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington), Sen. Anthony Petruccelli (D-East Boston), Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D-Revere), and Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

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Verizon Wireless Agrees to Honor Website Glitch That Offered Subsidized Upgrades & Unlimited Data

oopsA website glitch by Verizon Wireless last weekend let customers with legacy unlimited data plans to upgrade to a new subsidized smartphone on a two-year contract and keep unlimited data.

This afternoon, Verizon Wireless representatives confirmed they will honor upgrades from customers that took advantage of the mistake, despite the fact Verizon’s CEO has gone out of his way to declare unlimited data service “unsustainable.”

Over the past weekend, there was a software issue involving some orders for customers seeking to upgrade their devices. A number of customers who were upgrading devices were able to maintain an unlimited monthly data feature while paying a subsidized price. Verizon Wireless will honor those orders that were approved this past weekend, allowing those customers to retain their unlimited plans for the duration of their contract and receive their new device. Verizon Wireless corrected this software issue today.  The company no longer offers unlimited data plans and customers who want to retain existing unlimited data plans, must pay full retail price for a replacement phone.

610px-Verizon-Wireless-Logo_svgVerizon Wireless discontinued offering unlimited use data plans, but has allowed customers still on those plans to keep them indefinitely. Last year, Verizon Wireless amended its policy for grandfathered unlimited customers denying them access to subsidized, discounted devices unless they switched to a usage-based plan. A website error allowed unlimited customers to bypass a usual restriction requiring them to abandon their unlimited plan to complete the upgrade order. Dozens of customers reported this morning they had received their new phones with unlimited data still intact. With the glitch fixed, customers attempting to upgrade will once again need to give up unlimited data in return for a device discount.

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said last week offering unlimited data service was “unsustainable” as a matter of physics. McAdam said carriers still offering unlimited data will be overwhelmed by excessive customer use, running wireless networks “out of gas.”

Sprint countered it has plenty of “runway” to continue selling unlimited data service, and even offers a “lifetime guarantee” of unlimited service on its wireless network.

unlimited for lifeAt least one Wall Street analyst agreed with Sprint.

“This Verizon comment simply makes no sense. When two different people look at the same thing you often get two completely different perspectives. That’s what is happening here. It does not mean either is right or wrong, just different,” said tech analyst Jeff Kagan. “Unlimited wireless data may not make sense for Verizon Wireless for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they want to have some control over how much wireless data is being used. Perhaps they want to increase their profitability. Whatever the reason, this is Verizon’s belief and they are not wrong, for Verizon. Sprint is a different story.”

Sprint’s chief financial officer Joe Euteneuer, speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York on Thursday, said Sprint’s acquisition of 2.5GHz radio spectrum from Clearwire will give it a capacity edge once its 4G network build-out is done in mid-2014.

“We feel very good about our positioning having that spectrum . .. and our portfolio spectrum vs. the competition,” Euteneuer said. “So we’ll get leverage there.”

“Sprint’s unlimited plans are the right idea at the right time,” added Kagan. “They have plenty of capacity on the network. Sprint in fact has much more spectrum than Verizon. Sprint needs to hang on to their existing customer base and attract new users. If Sprint charged the same as Verizon or AT&T they would lose. So Sprint needs to attract attention. That’s what always happens in a market. The leaders and the followers take different marketing and positioning angles. And that’s exactly what is happening here.”

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Wireless is Verizon’s Cash Cow: $12.9 Billion in Operating Profits vs. Landlines/FiOS: $87 Million

moneyIf “follow the money” is a maxim in business, then it should come as no surprise Verizon favors the making the bulk of its investments and expansion in its enormously profitable wireless business.

Verizon Wireless earned the company $12.9 billion in operating profits during the first six months of 2013 while landlines and Verizon’s fiber optic network only delivered $87 million. That inconsistency may help explain why Verizon FiOS expansion is stalled while Verizon throws enormous sums into its 4G LTE wireless upgrade project.

The average Verizon Wireless bill is now over $150 a month. FiOS customers pay an average of over $150 a month as well, but Verizon’s costs to reach its smaller customer footprint are higher. Revenues for basic landline service are considerably lower than either wireless or fiber service.

With wireless providing a virtual ATM for Verizon Communications, the New York Times notes it is unsurprising that Verizon wants to buy out its European partner Vodafone, which owns 45% of Verizon Wireless. Once the $130 billion transaction is complete, Verizon will keep wireless profits all to itself as it continues lobbying for permission to decommission rural landlines and encourage those customers to use its vastly more profitable and almost entirely unregulated wireless network instead.

Exactly 100 years after Verizon predecessor AT&T/The Bell System voluntarily agreed to be a regulated monopoly provider of telephone service, Verizon Wireless and AT&T have successfully established unregulated wireless networks that serve most Americans with cell service and wireless data at prices that would be shocking to people 20 years ago.

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Your New Meter Reader May Be Verizon Wireless; Company Moving Into Cell-Based Meters

Phillip Dampier September 30, 2013 Consumer News, Verizon, Wireless Broadband 1 Comment

meterThat bi-monthly visit from your local utility’s meter reader may eventually be a thing of the past.

Verizon Communications is moving rapidly to establish itself as an “end to end smart grid solutions provider,” providing utility smart meters for gas, electric, and water service that communicate over Verizon Wireless’ cellular network.

“We’re in the midst of a pilot right now, and what we’re piloting is more than the meter data management — we have a meter-to-cash system that includes an advanced metering infrastructure partner as well,” said Ernie Lewis, industry partner with Verizon’s global energy and utility practice.

Verizon hopes to capitalize on forthcoming smart meter adoption, replacing current mechanical meters for natural gas, electricity and water with new electronic meters that have two-way wireless communications capability with the parent utility. Smart meters can offer customers time of day savings for running high consumption appliances during off-peak hours, automatically deliver meter readings to the utility without having to dispatch an army of meter readers to customers’ homes, and support pay-per-use billing that turns the power off when your prepaid account is depleted.

Verizon will manage the potential data demands of such services through cloud networks, potentially through its acquired subsidiary Terremark. Verizon already operates its own energy and utilities enterprise solutions business.

 

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Competition Not: Canada’s Forthcoming Spectrum Auction Bidders a Familiar Lot

before after

Before -and- After

Hopes for increased Canadian wireless competition were dashed last week when Industry Canada released an official list of approved spectrum auction bidders mostly filled with familiar names.

Fifteen Canadian participants including market-dominant Bell, Rogers and Telus each put down a refundable 5% deposit for the Jan. 14 auction. Most of the rest of the bidders are regional providers or suspected spectrum speculators hoping to sell any acquired spectrum at a profit.

It was good news for the three largest cell companies which feared the possibility of a well-funded new entrant like Verizon Wireless. Instead of facing the deep pockets of Verizon, the three cell companies will be competing against regional providers like Quebec’s Vidéotron, Bragg Communications’ EastLink which serves Atlantic Canada, and provincial telephone companies MTS in Manitoba and SaskTel in Saskatchewan.

Two private equity firms are also participating: a subsidiary of Birch Hill Equity Partners and Catalyst Capital which holds the debt for independent Wind Mobile. Wind Mobile’s owner Globalive Communications is also registered as a participant. Both could use the airwaves in the Wind Mobile business or sell them to another provider.

“Ultimately, what would have been great is to have a well-capitalized startup, a feisty competitor coming in,” telecom analyst Troy Crandall told the Canadian Press news agency. “That would have been the best thing for consumers.”

But Canada’s best hope for lower cell phone bills was never to be found from Verizon Wireless.

“I can assure our investors that we never have and never will be leading on price,” Lowell McAdam told investors at a conference last week.

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No Verizon FiOS Expansion for Next Several Years; Company to Focus on Improving Profits

Verizon plans to maintain a moratorium on further expansion of its fiber to the home service except in areas where it has existing agreements to deliver service.

Verizon’s moratorium on further expansion of its fiber to the home service will continue for “the next couple of years.”

Verizon FiOS won’t be coming soon to a home near you, unless that home is inside a community with a standing agreement with the phone company.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam made it clear to attendees at Tuesday’s Goldman Sachs 22nd Annual Communacopia Conference his priority continues to be investing in the company’s highly profitable wireless business, while the company’s wired infrastructure is being targeted for more cost cutting, especially in areas designated to see existing copper infrastructure decommissioned. As for expanding FiOS into new communities, McAdam said he instead preferred to concentrate on improving market share and profits for the next few years in areas already getting the fiber optic service.

McAdam noted John Stratton, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, has been hard at work pruning Verizon’s wireline products and services targeted to business and government customers.

“I think [he] killed about 2,000 products this year, and we have taken 350 systems offline last year,” McAdam noted. “I think we are already at 250 this year. That sort of discipline gives you the ability to streamline your infrastructure.”

For residential customers, Verizon has two sets of offerings: one for customers served by FiOS fiber optics, the other for customers unlikely to see fiber upgrades indefinitely.

Inside Existing FiOS Service Areas

“We are doing some major technology shifts within FiOS to make it more efficient,” McAdam said. “We’re going to concentrate there for the next couple of years.”

McAdam’s signals to Wall Street were loud and clear: no more FiOS expansion into new communities for now.

McAdam

McAdam

Instead, Verizon will focus on improving existing service in several key areas:

  • Verizon has almost two million optical terminals that McAdam says were active at one point and are now sitting idle, suggesting FiOS has won and lost nearly two million customers since launching, either because the customer switched providers or moved away. McAdam said he wants to improve Verizon FiOS’ product set enough to attract those customers back. He noted with the terminals and cables already in place, the capital costs to win back a former customer are near zero;
  • Verizon is introducing a new terminal this fall. Verizon’s FiOS Media Server “eliminates the requirement for coax, once you get into the optical terminal in the basement or wherever in the house,” McAdam said. “That slashes the installation time, and therefore makes the product a lot more profitable for us going forward. It eliminates set-top boxes, it is all IP-based going forward.”
  • Verizon will continue to expand Verizon FiOS, particularly in New York City where it has a commitment to offer service.

Verizon FiOS has managed to build a much larger market share than its nearest neighbor, AT&T U-verse. McAdam claimed Verizon FiOS has achieved a 39 percent market share in broadband and around 34 percent on its television service so far. McAdam’s goal is to boost that to 45 percent. In areas of Texas where Verizon first introduced its FiOS fiber optic service, the company already has a penetration rate above 50 percent for broadband and 50 percent for television, demonstrating room to grow market share. AT&T’s U-verse TV penetration rate is 20.1 percent.

For Those Unserved by FiOS

4g wireless

Verizon’s 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice

Except for Fire Island, N.Y., there are no significant announcements of FiOS expansion. Instead, Verizon has focused on investing to improve its wireless 4G LTE cell networks with the hope existing landline customers will consider switching to higher-profit wireless service. An attempted trial of Verizon Voice Link, intended to be an entry-level wireless replacement of landline service, failed badly on Fire Island due to an avalanche of complaints about poor quality reception, dropped and incomplete calls, and lack of support for data.

Now Verizon is back with a new offering, its 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice ($49.99 2-yr contract with $175 early termination fee/$199.99 month-to-month).

“Securely connect wired and wireless devices to the 4G LTE network, and connect your landline phone to make calls,” Verizon’s website says. “Combine voice and data on a Share Everything Plan for added savings.”

The device can function as both a wireless landline replacement and router for data. The unit includes three Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi to share your connection. A landline phone or cordless phone base station can be plugged in as well.

Verizon charges an extra $20 a month for Home Service Monthly Line Access on Share Everything Plans, which covers your telephone service. Customers get unlimited local, long distance, call forwarding, call waiting, three-way calling, and voice mail. 911 is available, but Verizon disclaims any responsibility if you cannot reach an operator. The device also supports TTY-TTD calling.

Verizon claims users can expect 5-12Mbps downloading and 2-5Mbps uploading on Verizon’s 4G network, assuming there is solid coverage where you use the device. Usage caps apply. A backup battery keeps the service running for up to four hours of voice calling in the event of a power outage.

McAdam admitted the thing that keeps him up most at night are regulatory issues. He particularly called out Europe, which he believes is hostile for investment. But Europeans pay considerably less for wireless service than North Americans pay, and often have more choices due to competition and regulatory oversight.

“I think the beauty of the ’96 Telecom Act was that it was such a light touch on broadband and mobile,” said McAdam. “And that is — and I sit in Europe talking to investors all the time — that is the biggest difference between the U.S. and Europe.”

To head the FCC off from pursuing any additional regulatory oversight, McAdam claims he reluctantly approved Verizon’s lawsuit against the government on Net Neutrality.

“We have had to take some positions, frankly, that we didn’t want to take,” McAdam said of the lawsuit. “It opened the door for them to get into price regulation of broadband. And I think that is not their charter, and I think it would be a mistake for the U.S. economy and certainly the telecommunications ecosystem.”

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/Verizon 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice 9-25-13.flv

Verizon Wireless’ latest 4G LTE router supports wireless landline service and 4G data.  (1 minute)

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Verizon Officially Ends Request to Make Voice Link Sole Landline Replacement in Parts of N.Y.

Verizon-logoVerizon Communications notified the New York Public Service Commission late Tuesday it was abandoning a request to replace damaged landlines anywhere in the state where the company’s facilities were substantially destroyed with a wireless service called Voice Link.

Verizon’s original tariff, if approved, would have allowed the company to drop landline service in areas of New York where it decided it was impractical to repair or replace heavily damaged wired infrastructure. Customers in these areas would no longer be able to obtain wired landline service or DSL broadband. Instead, under the original tariff request, Verizon would offer customers Voice Link as its sole service offering, providing voice-only service over existing telephones, assuming a good signal was available from a nearby Verizon Wireless cell tower.

Yesterday, Stop the Cap! reported a well-placed source in Albany indicated Verizon was unlikely to win approval of its tariff request after a summer of real-world experiences with Voice Link service on Fire Island. Customers overwhelmingly rejected the service, complaining about dropped and missed calls, poor voice quality, and the lack of an affordable broadband option. Yesterday, Verizon separately announced it was reversing an earlier decision and would now install its fiber network FiOS on Fire Island, offering customers the option of keeping Voice Link or switching to FiOS for telephone and/or broadband service.

Accordingly, Verizon today requested the PSC abandon proceedings regarding its request, calling the issue “moot,” and for now will no longer pursue an effort to drop landline service in New York. Verizon will continue to offer Voice Link in the state as an optional service, but will also provide traditional landline and DSL service (where available).

Verizon has not said whether it will continue to pursue regulators for permission to supply Voice Link as its sole service offering in part of New Jersey and Pennsylvania where the company’s landline networks were damaged by last year’s Hurricane Sandy.

 

verizon 9-10

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Verizon Gives Up On Voice Link as Its Sole Landline Replacement for Fire Island; Bringing FiOS By Next Summer

Verizon FiOS is coming to Fire Island.

Verizon FiOS is coming to Fire Island.

Verizon Communications has thrown in the beach towel attempting to convince residents of popular tourist destination Fire Island to accept its wireless landline replacement Voice Link as the company’s sole landline service option.

After telling customers for months it did not make financial sense to restore copper service or bring its fiber optic network FiOS to Fire Island, Verizon senior vice president of national operations support Tom Maguire today reversed course.

“In today’s competitive marketplace it’s all about making sure you can take care of customers because if you don’t they can go someplace else,” Maguire told Newsday. “Interestingly on Fire Island, there is no place else, so we listened to our customers. It was pretty apparent that we wanted to do something beyond Voice Link and the wireless network, so we think that fiber is the best course.”

Verizon customers on Fire Island have told Stop the Cap! all summer they felt abandoned by Verizon, stuck using a wireless landline replacement service they claimed worked poorly or not at all at times. Customers also loudly complained that Verizon was effectively forcing broadband customers who depended on Verizon DSL to the much more expensive Verizon Wireless broadband service with a very small usage cap. Many attended meetings sponsored by elected officials or the Public Service Commission to decry Voice Link and demand Verizon offer the same quality service its landline network used to provide.

Maguire told the newspaper the company will now deploy its fiber network FiOS on Fire Island, offering residents new options for telephone and broadband service. The 600 customers on Fire Island with Voice Link will be able to keep the wireless service or switch to FiOS fiber.

Reached for comment, Verizon tells Stop the Cap! its fiber service will not include FiOS TV because Verizon does not have franchise agreements with the many municipalities on Fire Island, and their primary concern is getting the fiber network engineered and constructed.

Schumer

Schumer

Fire Island residents have made it clear to Verizon their biggest concern is Internet access, not television, and Verizon FiOS will be able to deliver faster Internet speeds unavailable from DSL.

Verizon expects to begin construction in October, although it has already started preliminary design work for the new fiber network. Verizon expects to have the fiber build complete by the beginning of the 2014 summer season on the island.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been carefully monitoring the Voice Link issue, released a statement welcoming Verizon’s decision.

“By installing fiber-optic cables on the island, Verizon will not only make the system as good as it was before, it will be making it better,” said Schumer. “Fire Island residents will now have greater access to high-speed Internet – a necessity in the modern age – and reliable voice service. Verizon deserves credit for listening to our concerns and changing course.”

In a June guest article written for publication on Stop the Cap!, Maguire wrote it would cost Verizon from $4.8 million to more than $6 million to restore landline service. Maguire argued it made no economic sense to commit to a multimillion dollar investment with no guarantee that residents of the island will sign up for Verizon service.

“That’s probably why Verizon is the sole provider on the island,” Maguire noted in the piece. “None of the companies we compete with in other parts of New York offer services on the island.”

Today’s decision represents a complete reversal of the company’s earlier views, but one that is welcomed nonetheless by residents on Fire Island reached by Stop the Cap! this afternoon.

“We’re very glad this is now over and behind us,” said Verizon customer Shari who has toughed out the summer with cellphone-only service.

“I can’t wait to return Voice Link, which has been a real pain,” said Thom.

Both customers tell Stop the Cap! they intend to sign up for Verizon FiOS the moment it becomes available.

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Recent Comments:

  • Tasha: This is absurd that we have to pay additional for service. I only have Internet at my house & my bill with fees is $70 a month for 10mps. This is...
  • Romy Parker: I live in Joe's district...Time Warner services the Greater Rochester area (and the word "service" is a euphemism). I know I'm not the only one who ha...
  • michele perez: This may be two years late in coming but I think getting charged $20 on $2 and $6 balances (mind you, nobody came to the door - the most I'd get is an...
  • michele perez: And whoever said it's price gouging is absolutely right. One day this will no longer be the case - I can't wait!...
  • michele perez: I am a former Brighthouse customer of something like 12 years. Our last few years were riddled with enormous late fees incurred from every minor rate ...
  • Powers: It was also in a situation in which you are expected to present your own ideas and thoughts in your own words, for the purpose of educating you to do ...
  • BobInIllinois: I would have been given an F in my high school for that amount of plagiarism, and also put on academic probation. But, that was in the 70's, when pub...
  • txpatriot: I agree this doesn't look good. Clyburn has been the Commissioner most supportive of consumer issues since Michael Copps left. I doubt if Copps woul...
  • Duffin: I just love how Comcast claims it's too expensive to build out infrastructure to give everyone faster speeds which many foreign countries already have...
  • txpatriot: Tax policy is designed (theoretically) encourage those things we want (tax breaks) and discourage those things we don't want (additional taxes or pena...
  • jeffrey black: Terrible service, complained after 2 days and they charged me $278 early term fee. Then after speaking to over 10 different people they lied to me ab...
  • Phillip Dampier: The real problem is that satellite broadband has inherent limitations that will always make it a poor alternative to wired service. But that will requ...

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