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Verizon Ready to "Kill Copper" and Take Hostages

Rainbow Girl's picture

The main pilot program rolled out in Fire Island, NY, post-Sandy [shock doctrine opportunity.] Sandy damaged all the copper lines and Verizon has a monopoly for copper phone service in Fire Island. Instead of fixing the existing phone lines, Verizon -- eager to find opportunities to roll our "Voice Link" -- an ObamaCare like product that is expensive, does not work and causes life-threatening and working-people's-economy threatening things -- tells Fire Islanders take our "Voice Link" or get lost. And the NY Public Service Commission is "considering" Verizon's request to kill all copper and force its customers to buy this defective, overpriced product -- in all it's markets. I'm shocked that the PSC would even consider this proposal instead of rejecting it out of hand, given it's documented and enormous damage to the public interest.

Watch this play out in all our towns, hamlets, cities and rural areas.

I see this as an event releated to the killing of the Post Office, most recently with this catastrophic plan to "kill local post offices" and force granny and everyone else to trek god knows how far to new "centers." Also, as related to ObamaCare and the government forcing Americans to buy a defective expensive product that will only benefit private insurers and the "creative classes" supporting this fraudulent marketing scam.

But I'm still trying to figure out how to articulate the connection. I know it has something to do with vital public services being taken over and destroyed to the profit of private Kleptocrats and to the great dis-humanization of the rest of us, the unterbussen. Also, how knowing that these measures inflict huge, structural and permanent dis-enfranchisement, the perpetrators (Verizon's CEO, the assholes hiding behind the "committees" fixing to steal our Post Office, Obama with his forced consumption of FrankenCare plans) literally look at us and laugh, as if enjoying the spectacle of destroying every thread of our society, one citizen at a time.


Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Fire Island customers who lost service after the storm have been given the option of adopting a new Verizon product called Voice Link. It essentially turns a home phone into a cell phone, routing calls over Verizon's wireless network. But according to residents, reception is bad and calls are often dropped or missed altogether. The reviews have been so dismal that islanders with severely damaged landlines stubbornly cling to them, despite Verizon's refusal to service them.


[Roberta Smith, who owns the 16-year old beachwear boutique A Summer Place, reports that after Sandy she used one of her 2 copper phone lines for calls and credit card transactions because the second line -- crackly, etc. -- "you couldn't hear anybody and it wouldn't transmit the credit card data" [for purchases] ...

[So] ... [a]s a backup, she purchased a wireless credit card machine, but "half the time" the wireless network on the island is so slow that the machine won't work. If all else fails, Smith says, "we have the old-fashioned, physical, knuckle-buster swipe machine, but you still have to call up and give the vocal authorization." And that requires a working phone line—something the folks on Fire Island no longer take for granted. [Add that to privacy, health care, affordable food, housing and electricity, job security, jobs ... The Third Way's "new normal."]

Verizon saw Sandy as a great business op to accelerate a money making change:

Verizon, it turns out, had plans in place to stop providing landline service to communities like Fire Island long before Sandy hit, but the storm provided an opportunity to accelerate the pace. Last year, CEO Lowell McAdam spoke candidly about the company's strategy during a private symposium arranged by the financial firm Guggenheim Partners [Mais bien sur: Private Equity Jawb-Creators are involved!].

Ass***e that he is, Verizon CEO McAdam is really candid about the corporation's motive: VoiceLink = Shlocky Product Great for Corporate Bottom Line (Because Shareholder Value and Bonuses!).

McAdam spelled out Verizon's plans to sunset [MBA/Beltway jargon; appropriating beautiful noun to create nasty verb old technology—cheap copper landlines—in favor of more expensive fiber optic lines and wireless networks. The decision wasn't motivated by customer demand so much as McAdam's interest in increasing Verizon's profit margins.

[A no brainer, really, from a Power Point perspective.]

"We are going to kill the copper," the CEO told investors. "We are going to just take it out of service." The move would be a "pot of gold, in my view." [A Pot of Gold for McAdam -- He's got his. Everyone go to hell. What's that about Sociopathic Looting?] And the New York State Public Service Commission seems willing hear them out on "scaling" the Pot of Gold Strategy (Roll Out Schlock - Kill Copper). **

And early reports suggest VoiceLink is an honest-to-goodness defective product that endangers lives:

But Voice Link has proved a lesser alternative. It's not just that its customers can't process credit cards [Who cares about those uppity small business owners anyway?] home security systems and medical alert systems don't work, either. The device also requires power to provide a dial tone. If there is a protracted outage—which often happens on Fire Island—the inability to reach help in a timely fashion could be life-threatening.

EMS and firefighters elaborate:

"It's 14 minutes by police boat to the mainland and another three minutes, via exchange ambulance, to the hospital. "It's really scary," says Gretchen Stegner, an EMS captain on the island. "To not be able to get through to 911? That's malarkey." Firefighters also say the system makes it more difficult to pinpoint the location of 911 calls.

Tom Maguire, Verizon Vice President, doesn't really give a toss what EMS and firefighters think because Fire Island is getting VoiceLink, Period:

Yet Tom Maguire, a Verizon vice president, says Voice Link is the future for Fire Island, whether residents like it or not. Demand for landlines has plummeted over the last decade.

In 2000, Maguire says, Verizon had 53 million access lines. "That number is down closer to 17 million today."

"Imagine if you were any business and you lost 67 percent of your customer base," he says. Verizon, he says, is simply adjusting to realities presented by the market. [When you are a Cartel Member, 17 million souls (or accounts vital to, and used by, human beings) is just three words on a short Power Point slide.]

Predictably, the Fire Island human beings behind some of those 17 million disposable accounts, are actually trying to survive in Obama's Austerity and need the phone lines to do so.

"Maguire's statistics provide little comfort to residents who are still rebuilding their homes, and shopkeepers are struggling to make enough money this summer to stay in business.

Adding insult to injury, Maguire doles out unsolicited and patronizing advice to aggrieved shopkeepers:

Maguire isn't troubled by the fact that shopkeepers can't process credit cards. They should try the iPhone app Square, he says, or rely on cash—though it's doubtful Verizon would be pleased by such payment limitations on its own business. [Yes, good point there.] How about it Mr. Maguire?

** An all too predictable example of regulatory capture affecting a vital service:

"A few months later, when Hurricane Sandy swept through Fire Island, unearthing and corroding copper lines, Verizon asked the New York State Public Service Commission for permission to kill its copper lines and offer Voice Link as an alternative."