Verizon says it has invested $22.2B in New York, encourages regulatory reforms

Following a study made by New York Public Service Commission about the state of telecommunications, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has asked the regulator to implement a series of reforms that it says will promote innovation and investment.

This was at the heart of the service provider's response to the PSC's "Assessment of Telecommunications Services" in New York, which it released in June.

It also asked the PSC to apply the same rules to any service provider that operates in the same state and that those rules reflect today's competitive marketplace realities.

In making its argument, Verizon said that it has invested more than $22.2 billion in its wireline network in New York State since 2000. In 2014, the service provider invested over $1 billion on the network.

The service provider cited an economic analysis of the state of telecommunications in New York, prepared by Georgetown University economist John W. Mayo. Mayo's study focused on how current wireline regulations were put in place during a time when voice was the only telecom service consumers used.

"As seen in both studies, much of the recent evolution in the telecommunications industry has happened in wireless and broadband, two areas where regulation has generally followed a light-touch approach," Mayo said. "Yet much of the current, largely residual regulatory framework in wireline telecommunications was put in place in an era where the industry was dominated by local monopolies and competition from wireless communications or broadband did not exist."

New York has been a battleground for Verizon and a host of critics who claim the telco has been turning its back on its traditional copper-based wireline network while refusing to build out FiOS in new areas of the state.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to executives at Verizon, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable to get an understanding if these providers charged consumers for speeds slower than what they advertised. A key piece of the puzzle is related to the interconnection agreements that Verizon has in place with long-haul providers such as Cogent and Level 3.

Earlier, he wrote a letter to the NYPSC asking the state regulator to investigate Verizon and look at how the deregulation of the New York telecom market is impacting businesses and consumers.

Meanwhile, an audit conducted by New York City's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications found that Verizon failed to deliver on its promise to provide fiber-optic service for television and broadband to anyone who wants them by 2014.  

Verizon quickly dismissed the audit saying that it was based upon erroneous information and incorrect interpretations of the company's franchise deal that was signed with the city in 2008, which allowed it to deploy FiOS throughout the city. 

The telco has also been battling with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, which it is in the process of negotiating a new contract. The CWA has charged that the service provider has abandoned its copper network facilities in the 11 states it operates in today.

Similar to its FiOS commitment, Verizon said that the CWA misinterpreted a statement it made in a July letter to the FCC about how much it invests on its copper network.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
New York City audit says Verizon failed to deliver on FiOS promise
Verizon says CWA created a false impression of the state of its copper network
Verizon faces call to expand FiOS from 14 East Coast mayors
CWA union calls for federal, state investigation into Verizon's copper network
Verizon, CenturyLink say abandoning copper network is a "myth"

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