Verizon Would End ‘Century of Regulation’ by Killing Wireline Phone, Says NY AG
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this week accused Verizon of trying to “depart from a century of telephone service regulation” by ending wireline telephone service in a part of Fire Island devastated by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012.
In addition, Schneiderman has accused Verizon of violating a state order by telling customers outside of Fire Island that they should accept wireless phone service instead of repairs to their landline service. He says Verizon should be fined $100,000 per customer, per day.
Verizon says it has not violated the state order, and that its offer of wireless service outside Fire Island is strictly optional. Verizon is, however, trying to gain state approval to end wireline service entirely in western Fire Island.
Killing the public switched telephone network, one step at a time
It’s no secret that telcos want to abandon the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) and switch to all-IP networks. AT&T has asked the Federal Communications Commission to lead this transition and also get rid of the “conventional public-utility style regulation” associated with landline phone service.
Such a transition will take years on a national level, but it’s happening on a small scale in Fire Island, where Verizon says the infrastructure costs of repairing damaged phone lines are too great. On May 3 of this year, Verizon asked the New York Public Service Commission to allow the discontinuation of wireline phone service in western Fire Island and let Verizon replace it with a similarly priced wireless phone service called Voice Link.
As the article points out, the real reason is regulation. With wireless, there basically isn’t any, which is why people typically pay over $100/month for cell phone service.
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