Verizon rejects federal money to build rural broadband

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in internet on (#MVXC)
story imageThe Federal Communications Commission recently announced which telecom companies will receive federal subsidies through the Connect America Fund to bring 10Mbps Internet service to parts of rural America. Surprisingly, Verizon Communications refused the funds entirely, in comparison to chief competitor AT&T, which will receive $427 million in funding even though it argued last year that rural customers don't need Internet service better than the old standard of 4Mbps downstream. Verizon Communications turned down a reported $568 million (over six years) in federal funds to bring broadband to 270,000 locations in Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.”

The Communication Workers of America noted this is not the first time Verizon has rejected subsidies aimed at serving poor communities. The company previously rejected over $500 million from the New York Broadband Fund, which offered up to 50% subsidies to companies willing to build high-speed service in underserved areas. CWA noted in its press release, “For years, Verizon has steadfastly refused to bring its high-speed internet service (or FiOS) to areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica and numerous other upstate New York cities, as well as much of Eastern Suffolk.” CWA is currently embattled in an ongoing labor dispute with Verizon over the contract renewal of the 39,000 Verizon employees it represents. But whatever the source, between Verizon's announcement that it won't continue its FIOS deployments in new cities, it's refusal of federal money, opposition to FCC rules on allowing copper networks to decay, and selling-off its assets in California, Texas and Florida, it's clear Verizon doesn't consider its wired communications part of the company's future.

Dodged a bullet (Score: 1)

by fishybell@pipedot.org on 2015-09-18 17:44 (#MW6N)

From everything I've heard about Verizon FIOS, these rural (or semi-rural) cities really dodged a bullet. Towns should work with proven contractors to deploy and manage city-run/city-sponsored broadband. I used to live in a city that tried multiple times to do it on their own, and that was a special kind of disaster (that 10 years later, they're still paying for), but there are many communities that make it work, and any new deployments will have huge resources to look to for what to do and what not to because of the successes and failures of other cities.
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