Group Says Verizon Reaped $2 Billion from False Promises

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PITTSBURGH LIVE– In the midst of a battle with state regulators over the capability of its broadband service, Verizon Communications is now being challenged by a consumer group that says the telecommunications giant owes Pennsylvanians $2.1 billion for promising a faster network than it has delivered.

The accusation by TeleTruth, a New York City-based nonprofit, cites the same 1995 network modernization agreement between the state and Bell Atlantic — now called Verizon since its 2000 merger with GTE — that is currently in dispute between the company and state regulators.

In exchange for Bell Atlantic’s promises to provide broadband service to customers in every corner of its service territory by 2015, state regulators lifted limits on the company’s profits, although they devised a formula to keep the company’s rates tied to the rate of inflation.

TeleTruth’s chairman, Bruce Kushnick, said Verizon pulled off a “bait and switch” when it promised public utility commissioners that it would build a high-speed network requiring fiber-optic or another advanced technology throughout its territory by 2015, then delivered service on “100-year-old copper wires.”

The digital subscriber line, or DSL, service that Verizon offers on its copper-wire network can carry data, audio and video at speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second, or nearly 27 times faster than the fastest available dial-up modems.

But a majority of state regulators, the state’s consumer advocate, and now TeleTruth insist that Verizon in 1995 made an unambiguous commitment to provide broadband access with speeds of 45 megabits per second to customers within five days of requesting it.

Continue reading about Verizon’s False Promises.

© Copyright 2003 Associated Press

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