Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Verizon: "Trust us."

Trust Verizon. When the ILECs say, "Our commitment to our customers, our commitment to [the U.S. Congress] is this: We will not block, impair, or degrade content, applications, or service," we can trust them, right? When Verizon makes commitments, public promises, it keeps them, right?

I got home at 6:30 AM this morning to discover that my primary line, 203-661-4798, had no dial tone. I called my LEC, Verizon. Verizon's repair office was closed until 8:00 AM. Fortunately, DSL on that line worked, so I filed an on-line trouble ticket. Verizon "committed" to be there today between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM, an 11-hour window. The company used that word. Commitment. I waited.

To be sure, I filed a voice-line trouble ticket too via cell phone. Same deal, by 7:00 PM today. I waited.

And waited. Good thing I didn't HAVE to be at work today.

At about 6:00 PM somebody called on my cell phone (caller ID listed "no number") and said that probably nobody from Verizon would come today. I reminded the person emphatically that there was a "commitment" -- their words, not mine -- in place. The person said that his supervisor would call me. No. Call. From. Supervisor.

I called the repair center. Closed at 6. Use the automated system. Repair still "committed" between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM. No human available.

NOBODY FROM VERIZON CAME BY 7:00 PM, the commitment hour. I HAD BEEN HOME, WAITING, FOR ELEVEN HOURS. I called the only 24 hour Verizon number I know, the number for FIOS service repair. I did this despite the fact that 203-661-4798 is a copper line. I made this clear to the nice man, and he tried real hard to put me in touch with somebody who could help me.

After 20 minutes, a man came on the line who was responsible for repairing my service but who (a) could not tell me why today's "commitment" was violated, (b) could not expedite a repair this evening, and (c) could not do anything more than a "priority commitment" for tomorrow. (How is a broken commitment different from a broken priority commitment?)

So, as Bruce Kushnick has amply pointed out, "Verizon promises" aren't worth fecal matter.

Should we trust them when they say, "We'll be there during this 11-hour window"? Should we trust them when they say, "We will not block, impair, or degrade any content, application or service"? They've been lobbying to not be a "public trust" anymore. And they've earned the absence of public trust. We shouldn't trust them with our rights of way, our franchises and our spectrum.

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They only listen to threats.

A few years ago an elderly neighbor lost her Verizon connection. It was important to her as she had a heart condition and ambulances were regular visitors. She was paniced after the first day (when they "guaranteed" someone would come ... she was using neighbor's phones). On the second day she delayed some Dr appointments and no one came.

Upon talking to her we learned that her son was a state senator. We called him and two trucks and a car showed up in less than an hour. She was provided an emergency cellphone to make up for any inconveniences (and not charged). We later learned that her son had a conference call with Verizon's CEO and the head of the state PUC telling both it was a life and death issue.

Sadly few of us have this sort of clout.
You can contact the CT PUC, because dial-tone has a one-day mean repair time (still). You should put in the complaint. All too often people complain but just to the general public instead of to the oversight committee.
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