Wednesday, October 09, 2013

AARP Joins Those Fighting Verizon's Killing of Copper....Argues the Elderly Will be Harmed by Death of DSL, POTS

The American Association of Retired Persons has joined a growing chorus of people concerned about the way Verizon is hanging up on their DSL and copper phone lines. As we've explored in great detail, Verizon has slowly but surely been turning their backs on DSL and POTS customers they don't want to upgrade. In many instances Verizon has used Sandy as justification and cover, telling many victims some seven months on that they'll never be repaired, and offering them less useful and ultimately more expensive Voice Link wireless service as replacement.

As the NY PSC weighs Verizon's request to shut down copper in NY State, the AARP has expressed concerns that Verizon's plans will be very bad news for the elderly (and everyone else).

According to the AARP, the Voice Link service Verizon is "replacing" damaged lines with across New England isn't up to snuff. It doesn't include data service, is incompatible with Life Alert systems and security systems, and doesn't offer as reliable a lifeline during prolonged power outages. It's simply not an adequate replacement for existing services.

Again though, it's important to understand this isn't just about Sandy, the elderly and VoiceLink, as Verizon is interested in hanging up on all remaining DSL and POTS users eventually. Sandy has simply been convenient cover for an assault on the regulation requiring they keep these lines operational.

The company has been using rate hikes to quietly drive many existing DSL users to cable, where they'll then be pitched Verizon Wireless services. Unlike most of the public and press, the AARP seems to be marginally aware of how killing DSL lines off gives cable a fixed-line monopoly in huge swaths of markets, resulting in higher prices and poorer service for everybody, not just the elderly. The ACLU expressed concern that Verizon's move is going to eliminate fixed-line broadband options at a time we profess to be expanding them.

"Under the cover of Sandy, this push by Verizon could well work towards advancing the company's corporate strategy of steering customers towards more expensive services, but that doesn't match up to protecting the needs and interests of consumers," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York. "AARP opposes this move and we're calling on the PSC to do the same and protect New York consumers. In many cases this move could leave New York consumers in a worse situation come the next major storm."

Read the rest of the discussion here....

Verizon Killing Copper

From July News

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