CWA Says Slashing Jobs is Cause of Verizon's Failure to Meet FiOS Commitments
CWA Press Release, June 18, 2105
In 2008, Verizon Agreed to Wire 'Every Corner' Of The City, Offer FiOS To Everyone Who Wanted It By June 2014
With Deadlines Missed, Union Calls on Verizon to Stop Cutting Workforce, Start Re-Investing in Customers
New York - A damning audit of Verizon's FiOS rollout released today found that Verizon had failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it. During its negotiations for a city franchise, Verizon promised that the entire city would be wired with fiber optic cables by June 2014 and that after that date, everyone who wanted FiOS would get it within six months to a year.
"Sadly, the findings of the audit are unsurprising," said Bob Master, Legislative and Political Director of Communications Workers of America District 1. "CWA members are dealing every day with the company's failure to meet the commitments to the public it made in 2008. If the company would stop slashing jobs and start treating customers and employees half as well as its shareholders and executives, more New Yorkers would have the choice of high-speed internet providers they deserve."
The audit found that despite claiming that it had wired the whole city by November 2014, Verizon systematically continued to refuse orders for service. The audit also found that Verizon stonewalled the audit process. In 2014, Verizon acknowledged that it would miss the deadline, but only by "a few months." When the audit was announced in September 2014, the company promised to comply with its agreement "by the end of the year."
The company has also been cutting investment in its landline services across the country. Earlier this week, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed requests asking for details regarding repair, maintenance, and installation of Verizon landline services across 6 East Coast states and Washington, DC.
The telecommunications workers filed FOIAs in New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. The FOIAs include requests for information regarding Verizon's upkeep and maintenance of older landline systems - a responsibility that Verizon often ignores in favor of larger profits.
Rates for basic telephone service have increased in recent years, even as Verizon has refused to expand their broadband services into many cities and rural communities, and service quality has greatly deteriorated. Verizon's declining service quality especially impacts customers who cannot afford more advanced cable services, or who live in areas with few options for cable or wireless services.
In 2005, New York's Public Service Commission (PSC) eliminated automatic fines for Verizon's telephone service quality failures, reasoning that "competition" would improve services. Instead, service quality plunged. In the 3rd quarter of 2010, Verizon cleared only 1.2% of out of service complaints within 24 hours, almost 79 percentage points lower than the PSC's 80% requirement. Rather than reverse course, the PSC changed its measurements, cutting out 92% of customers from service quality measurements and consolidating 28 repair service bureaus into 5 regions. On paper, terrible service quality was almost miraculously transformed. In reality, service quality continued to decline.