Transbeam: Verizon offers no alternative to NYC copper retirement for EoC providers

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is seeing another challenge to its copper retirement plans in New York City from competitive carrier Transbeam, which says its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) customers could be compromised.

The telco says that Transbeam's call to delay the migration of copper facilities in Verizon's West 36th St. wire center in New York is a misreading of its intentions.

"One objector, Transbeam, seeks to delay the copper retirement for a time period well beyond the length contemplated by the rules or else halt it altogether," Verizon said in a FCC filing. "But Transbeam misconstrues the nature of the facilities being retired, ignores the fact that it has already been offered several alternative products to serve its customers after the copper is retired, and fails to support its claims as required by the copper retirement rules. Its objection is meritless."

Similar to a recent move to retire copper facilities in New Jersey, Verizon notes that the majority of the customers served out of this wiring center mainly purchase traditional POTS voice service.

Upon completing the transition to fiber in this wiring center, current residential POTS customers will be able to "continue to receive the same traditional POTS service over fiber on the same terms and conditions and at the same or better price as they received over copper."

However, Transbeam maintains in a filing that it is concerned that Verizon isn't going to offer an alternative wholesale service to support its growing business customer base.  

Today, Transbeam provides Ethernet over Copper (EoC) to 57 customers via Verizon's copper facilities in this wire center. Transbeam delivers the EoC service by accessing copper loops on an unbundled basis under an interconnection agreement and wholesale arrangements, connects the copper loops to Transbeam's central offices, and bundles together the components necessary to provide the service.

Transbeam said that if Verizon gets permission from the FCC to "retire these copper facilities without providing Transbeam reasonably comparable wholesale access, dozens of Transbeam business customers will lose their EoC service."

"Verizon has indicated that there will be no replacement service following the retirement, because the fiber alternatives that Verizon has offered will not support the EoC service that Transbeam currently provides to customers over Verizon's copper facilities," Transbeam said. "Thus, unless Verizon commits to providing Transbeam with access to a suitable fiber replacement following the copper retirement on reasonably comparable rates, terms and conditions, the Verizon Notification must be deemed to be an improper attempt to use the copper retirement notice process to discontinue wholesale services to Transbeam without providing access to a reasonably comparable substitute."

Transbeam added that Verizon's fiber-based services at this wiring center won't support its EoC customer base.

"While Verizon has provided a fiber-based alternative to Transbeam's TDM-POTS customers at the locations affected by the Verizon Notification, that alternative cannot be used to deliver Ethernet service to Transbeam's EoC customers," Transbeam said. "Under the replacement offered for TDM POTS lines, Verizon provides digital Internet lines that deliver voice services over Verizon's fiber network (or E-POTS) -- which lines cannot be connected to Transbeam's Central Offices. As such, this alternative cannot be used by Transbeam to deliver EoC service."

Verizon countered that the "copper loops about which Transbeam, however, are DS0-capacity UNEs that fall into neither of those categories."

New York is just one state where it has faced controversy over copper retirement. In New Jersey, the telco faced opposition from the state's Division of Rate Counsel over its proposal to transfer existing landline voice service customers from copper to fiber in its Bloomfield and New Brunswick, N.J., wire centers. 

For more:
- see Verizon's filing (PDF)
- and here's Transbeam's filing (PDF)

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