Cuomo’s Gambit: The $15 Low Cost Broadband Plan Is Theater vs Fixing the Digital Divide.

  • This Cuomo plan is political theater — and it most likely won’t be implemented. It does nothing to fix the underlying problem that there’s no serious competitive high speed broadband at reasonable rates in NY State.
  • Cuomo’s statements, even in the press release, shows it’s all about ‘show’ and no actual facts. Perhaps you didn’t know that 98% of NYS can get 100 Mbps services today? That claim is pure fiction and a ruse to divert attention from Como’s historical complicity with the industry.
  • This law suit against the law is also a farce and just part of the theater. Of course the industry is going to sue when they are not going to get compensated for lowering their inflated rates, and just telling them to do it without any cost models, for example, is ridiculous.
  • Moreover, this could be just a dance to get the telcos more money, compensation for discounts. But it appears that Cuomo is a doing this as a distraction to stop the calls for impeachment over a few different scandals, not to mention, he wants to ‘look tough’ on the big corporations.
  • Full Stop: Cuomo’s plan and this case are just distractions. The State needs to get serious about broadband in NY State and that requires full audits of Verizon and of the state telecommunications public utility, due to the massive cross-subsidies that allowed Verizon’s other lines of business, like wireless, to use the state utilities as cash machine — raising all rates, including broadband — and creating the Digital Divide
  • Halting these subsidies, requiring Verizon’s subsidiaries to pay for the use of the networks and refunding the billions in construction budgets that they used without reimbursement — and other items, will lower prices and give billions to the telecom utility to build out the fiber, which had been promised.
  • Halting the ‘harvesting’, where customers have had continuous rate increases on all aspects of service, until they scream ‘Uncle’ and leave or continue to get gouged, has continued for 15+ years, and should also be investigated, especially when the increases in price are based on expenses to fund the build out of the wireless infrastructure, or to pay for the corporate operations expenses.
  • Open the networks to competition for lower prices and choice, should be the next steps, but it requires auditing the guts of the networks known as “Backhaul” (or “Business Data Services”, “BDS”), the basic copper and fiber optic wires to cell sites or used by competitors or even banks — which now have obscene profits from also being subsidized, which, in turn, inflates all US communications/broadband service prices.
  • FACTS: The case claims that broadband is an “information” service; In NY, Verizon’s fiber to the home, FTTP is “Title II”. The telcos claim there has never been state ‘rate regulation’ of broadband, (adjusting the price of broadband service to consumers with regulation). Yet, there is a regulatory scheme where all local phone customers have been overcharged through rate regulation to fund a fiber optic upgrade and worse, it now illegally subsidizes their wireless network infrastructure.
  • Cuomo claims that 98% of the State has access to broadband with speeds of at least 100 Mbps.
  • The press release doesn’t even mention New York State statistics for the cost of broadband connectivity or who does and does not have it. It uses national statistics.
  • Comments First: FCC Open Internet Proceeding “Title Shopping: Solving Net Neutrality Requires Investigations” , July 14th, 2014
  • Comment Second: Verizon’s FiOS Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) Networks are Already Title II in Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, New York

IMPORTANT: If the fiber optic wires weren’t classified as “Title II”, then Verizon couldn’t put the expenses into the state public utility and charge local phone customers.

  • An estimated $1.4 billion was charged to Verizon NY annually in construction costs that were not used for local service, which includes $237 million in “access” fees and other charges competitors pay and Verizon underpaid.

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