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Verizon Sells Off Rural Lines

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-broadband-for-you dept.

Communications 192

ffejie writes "Verizon has announced that it will be spinning off rural assets to FairPoint Communications. These include all assets in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The deal will close sometime in 2007 and is worth $2.7 billion. 1.6 million phone lines, 234,000 DSL subscribers, and 600,000 long-distance customers will be moved to FairPoint in Verizon's effort to shed its low-margin lines in rural areas. The sale has been rumored since the summer at least. With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?"

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What happens? (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634424)

With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?"

They get better service?

Big telcos like Verizon tend to focus on large population areas first, because that's where the money is. Which means that the major cities get more options and better service while Bob Newhart over in Middlebury, Vermont can forget about ever getting Fiber service. In fact, I'd guess that the sale of the rural lines in these areas are being done specifically so that Verizon doesn't have to deploy FiOS [wikipedia.org] as promised.

In comparison, a small company like Fairpoint is going to have to focus on the customers they've got. Which means either making them happy, or losing the business to local Co-Ops setup to provide the missing services.

It's all highly ironic (1)

gerf (532474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634522)

For the last decade or so, small telcos have been bought up by the likes of Verizon. I know just a town over this had happened only last year.

Now, rather than being in the mentality of conglomeration, they're improving profit margins. Eh, it's all business dealings.

I agree with the parent though, this will not hurt, if not greatly benefit, the customers in those areas, despite not having FiOS "guaranteed."

Re:It's all highly ironic (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634768)

There's no customers to hurt.
I live on a PAVED ROAD (laugh, but it's rare in the area mentioned) less than EIGHT MILES from Montpelier, Vermont. It's a fairly major route, and a several hundred people live on it between me and Montpelier.
I've been on the waiting list for high-speed internet since 2001. I'm still stuck on dial-up (on the upside, the state does provide that for free to us). I don't know anyone, outside major population centers (8k+ people) who can get DSL or better.

And I can't see the situation improving with this new deal. Reading TFA, they are talking buzzwords about the merger, but there's no info about the actual consumers.

Re:It's all highly ironic (2, Interesting)

jackjumper (307961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635034)

It's too bad. I live in Bolton, in the Champlain Valley Telecom area. They've been great - I've had DSL for over five years, and I'm running about 3.5mbit download speeds right now. If I call tech support, I get someone in Hinesburg. I can't say enough good things about them. Having a local telecom company that owns their own equipment is key.

So will this new deal help? Who knows...

Re:It's all highly ironic (1)

SupremeTaco (844794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635694)

Yeah, great news for some, but what about those of us still on di

Re:It's all highly ironic (1)

jackjumper (307961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636142)

"I feel your pain"

Re:It's all highly ironic (3, Informative)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636116)

I live in Marshfield, VT, and I have been well-served by FairPoint for years. I've had a DSL connection for over a year, and the speed keeps increasing at no extra costs.

The few times decades ago I was serviced by NYNEX (now Verizon) and it sucked. You'll be much better off with FairPoint, in my experience.

Re:It's all highly ironic (1)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636440)

I'm still stuck on dial-up (on the upside, the state does provide that for free to us).

It's not free. Someone is paying for it, possibly not you, but someone is. TANSTAAFL.

Co-ops (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634578)

Which means either making them happy, or losing the business to local Co-Ops setup to provide the missing services.

I was actually going to respond to the question with "Co-Ops, of course" but with bought-and-paid-for state legislatures across the country doing everything they can to make internet co-ops illegal in favor of telcos et al, that may not be an option. I hope for their sakes that the people affected by this deal do get better service, but historically speaking it's a coin toss. The real question is, will their legislatures permit them to respond with co-ops if service doesn't improve?

Re:Co-ops (2, Informative)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634736)

Vermont already has CoOps and municipal internet. Burlington Telecom [burlingtontelecom.net] provides FTTP over which they serve voice, television, and data.

Re:Co-ops (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635390)

Last time I checked what they were trying to outlaw was not co-ops (a co-op is just a business that's held by the employees, which you can't make illegal without screwing up a lot of other bogus legal constructs that corporations use to deflect blame from themselves, or funnel money around) but government-operated ISPs. Anyone can start a co-op any time, and if you really want to change the world, you should do just that.

Chode-munch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17634814)

> ...more options and better service...

You always have to be a smart-ass...

Re:What happens? (2, Interesting)

Zuato (1024033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634930)

If their service is like Verizon's in Ohio, they'll be better off with the smaller carrier. A few years back I had to argue with them to get them to fix noise on my line. They repeatedly told me over and over that there was no noise on my line until the fifth time I called the person on the other end could hear it. This went on for two weeks. Turns out a rather costly piece of equipment was going belly up in their switching station one block away from my apartment. The technician stopped by and apologized profusely and then said he had no idea how long it would take to get repaired because they had to get approval to replace it. A week later it was replaced. A few miles south of this they have horrible lines (Waverly, OH area). They refuse to replace the lines, so every time it rains heavily or a storm blows through they have massive outages and end up working their guys 16+ hours a day all week to get their customers lines working again. I would hope that the smaller company would be more pro-active and more customer focused than Verizon has been.

Re:What happens? (2, Informative)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635102)

As a counterpoint, the central office that we get phone service from is operated by D&E. Most of the ones surrounding us are operated by Verizon. We pay $45 a month for 512Kbps down, 256 kbps up DSL, while you can get 768 Kbps down DSL from Verizon for $20/month. I suspect that it'll be quite a while until we get FTTP. One advantage of larger companies like Verizon is that they have enough capital to do these big projects, which smaller phone companies, like ours, can't match.

Re:What happens? (2, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635110)

Well, as a Vermont resident, this wouldn't surprise me. Of course, plenty of the state is nothing but Bumfuckville where costs to deploy proper internet connections would be insane. My aunt, for example, in Braintree - absolute middle of nowhere with incredibly low population density and the only internet options being dial-up and supremely overpriced satellite. Neither cable nor DSL is an option for her, while both are a choice for me in Williston where we actually have people (and, more importantly, people with money and most of their teeth). I get to sit here on a 6Mbit cable line while she has a slow bandwidth-capped internet connection that doesn't work well in bad weather.

Though while househunting in NH, I was rather excited to find out that FIOS is available in what seemed to be pretty middle-of-nowhere locations. It would seem that Verizon isn't intent on screwing everyone over, just those people where it'll be geographically convenient.

Re:What happens? (1)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635406)



                    "Bumfuckville" ?
                    "middle of nowhere" ?
                    "people with money and most of their teeth" ?

With an attitude like that, you can't possibly be a native. Go back to Massachusetts where you belong. We've got enough arrogant transplants in this state already.

Re:What happens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635688)

I just liked that he is so arrogant about living in "Williston, VT".

Wherever that is. *rolls eyes*

Meow! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635398)

Bob Newhart over in Middlebury, Vermont can forget about ever getting Fiber service.


Hi. I'm Larry form L.D.&D. Telecom.

We at L.D.&D. Telecom are patently offended by your assertion and you will be hearin' form our legal beagle (as soon as he is finished chewin' my slipper). In achewal fact, my brother Daryl and my other brother Daryl and I are very busily cuttin' down trees 'n' we kin ashure you that said trees will allow us to give the Inn in rural Vermont more Fiber service than a truckload of Metamucil.

Good day to you all.

Re:Meow! (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635696)

Hi. I'm Larry form L.D.&D. Telecom.

So close. It would have been perfect if you'd written it as, "Hi. I'm Larry from L.D.&D. Telecom, and this is my brother Daryl and my other brother Daryl." :P

Re:Meow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635960)

So close. It would have been perfect if you'd written it as, "Hi. I'm Larry from L.D.&D. Telecom, and this is my brother Daryl and my other brother Daryl."

No, that would have been giving away the punchline.

Re:What happens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635528)

Granted I don't the specifics, but aren't some of the 'FEES' on my phone bills paying for infrastructure upgrades?

Also, isn't the telephone service a public utility, which means its not OWNED by anyone, its merely managed by certain companies?

This is why I despise ALL telecomm companies.
er. correction: This is why I will soon despise the 1 telecomm company.

FUCK YOU AT&T-Cingular-SBC!!!!

Re:What happens? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636018)

Also, isn't the telephone service a public utility, which means its not OWNED by anyone, its merely managed by certain companies?

There have been exceptions, of course.

But, broadly speaking, telephone companies in the states have been privately owned since the introduction of the service in the late 1870's. As was the telegraph before them.

Re:What happens? (2, Insightful)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635872)

They get better service?

Possibly, but it'll probably get more expensive...

In comparison, a small company like Fairpoint is going to have to focus on the customers they've got. Which means either making them happy, or losing the business to local Co-Ops setup to provide the missing services.

Not a lot of telco-heads out in farm country, the skills are either not there or are already fully-employed elsewhere. Also, depending on the state, this is legally tedious.

Nope, rural folk will probably just get jacked even harder.

Re:What happens? (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636266)

There is a lot more than just farm country in the areas you describe. And a lot more high tech people than you can imagine. I live in Maine and I was the 40th person on the east coast to get high-speed internet via cable. Those were the days.

Or you get two types of customers: (2, Funny)

xtype2.5 (761755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636578)

Those waiting on a phone, those waiting on a dialtone!

Well, (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634428)

With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?
We'll get hosed.

Re:Well, (1)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634564)

Bet you don't. You won't get FTTP, at least not for a while, but I bet the service for what you have now will improve.

Re:Well, (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635492)

My service with Verizon has been problem free with one exception. Over the past several years I've had numerous lines installed with DSL at various locations, both business and residential. The only problem I had is when I requested a speed upgrade from 1.5 to 3M, and the did it, but my line didn't support it (too far from the CO.) Within 4 hours of reporting the problem, they had it fixed. Actual line distance as tested by the tech was different than the computer had.

I'm very concerned about my business DSL service now with Fairpoint. Will it go up in price? Will it become flaky / slow? Ah fsck it. I'm moving to Arizona. Tempe looks nice. At least I'll have a choice of ISP's unlike here.

Worse than Comcast? Are you kidding? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634596)

Not necessarily.

I used to live up in Maine, and while the big-name telco and cablecos wouldn't even dream about rolling out FIOS to most markets there, some local companies were. In particular, there was a local operation in Lewiston that was out, running fiber all over the place. I have no idea where they got their capital, but it was a local business with a huge office downtown, and a pretty rapid deployment plan.

I'm almost positive it was these guys: http://www.oxfordnetworks.com/

Let's face it; if you're not in a major market, then you aren't worth two squirts to a major national carrier. At least with a regional company, they're going to have some reason to pay attention.

Re:Worse than Comcast? Are you kidding? (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634986)

I used to live up in Maine, and while the big-name telco and cablecos wouldn't even dream about rolling out FIOS to most markets there, some local companies were.
Great. I still do. In the "other" Maine, even. Time Warner sells fibre connectivity up here, but it costs an arm and a leg. Do they count as "big-name" for you?

Let's face it; if you're not in a major market, then you aren't worth two squirts to a major national carrier. At least with a regional company, they're going to have some reason to pay attention.
If you're not in a sufficiently populated market, then you're not worth two shits to anyone when it comes to getting any new communications infrastructure before the pricing goes way down to commodity levels--by which time something even more whizbang impressive has come out.

Re:Worse than Comcast? Are you kidding? (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636042)

then you aren't worth two squirts to a major national carrier
What does Microsoft's Zune have to do with this?

what will happen to the consumers (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634440)

They're screwed. They will, probably, keep whatever DSL they may have, or dial-up, but no FIOS for them. If they're lucky (for suitably large definitions of 'luck'), they'll be able to get high speed service from their local cable provider.

Re:what will happen to the consumers (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634684)

They will, probably, keep whatever DSL they may have, or dial-up, but no FIOS for them.

And there was never going to be any FIOS for them with Verizon. At least with a regional company, customer service will probably be better (I mean, unless they come to your house and actually beat you with a stick, it can't possibly be worse), and they'll have a better chance of getting new technologies as soon as it's technically and economically feasible in the area.

enter in Clearwire/satellite internet (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635454)

Clearwire and its compatriots have huge potential markets in rural areas. Compare: crappy DSL at 768kbit/sec (or less) vs 1.5mbit clearwire wireless. Also, Satellite internet is always an option anywheres you are. You can usually speeds around 384kbit or so down and uplink for around 80$. Combine that with a good VoIP service, and voila! Instant internet/telephone from Nevada desert to Vermont backwoods.

correction (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635514)

384kbit downlink, and a slower uplink. But, both through the dish

Re:enter in Clearwire/satellite internet (1)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635902)

I've been under the impression that the latency in satellite internet is too high to handle something like VOIP. Has the technology improved, or have I just been mistaken the whole time?

Re:what will happen to the consumers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635770)

You might be suprised. Some rural areas could end up getting fiber. I did firmware development on one of the products Verizon is using to roll out its FiOS service. At the time, sales was telling us engineers that there was actually a lot of interest coming from the smaller providers in rural areas. Why? Because of the line lengths.

In rural areas where the population is really spread out, it doesn't make sense to have everyone connected directly to a central office. You can only run copper so far. So what they do is set up a series of remote terminals and run T1s or sometimes an OC3 between them. If you live in the middle of nowhere, you might go through 7 or 8 remote terminals before you hit a central office. Typically, the remote terminals can't be more than a few kilometers apart. Having all that equipment spread out is expensive to maintain. When something isn't working, someone has to get in a truck and drive to the remote terminal to figure out whats going on, replace a card, etc. Plus, they have to maintain power at all those remote terminals.

By going to fiber, they can eliminate all those remote terminals. The BPON and GPON specs allow you to go 20km without a repeater. That means all that powered equipment at the remote terminals that's prone to failure can get replaced with passive optical splitters. At the same time, they can offer cable TV and high speed internet service to areas that never had it before and increase revenue.

Also, the company I worked for that is selling all that equipment to Verizon built their BPON solution on the same platform that was used for remote terminals. Basically, any network that has that remote terminal equipment already installed can plug in a BPON card into any remote terminal and offer fiber service out of it. That allows the rural service providers to slowly upgrate their network with minimal investment.

Obviously fiber service isn't going to be offered everywhere, but you might be suprised at some of the locations where it starts showing up.

No worries. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634454)

what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?"
It's just a short-term stopgap until Ma Bell gets around to buying back that particular piece of herself.

Probibly be better service. (4, Insightful)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634458)

I don't know anything about FairPoint, but when I went to a small 13,000 household telco my service improved greatly. Prices went up a bit, but only a few percent and my service has been great.

What's wrong with regional telcos? (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634462)

...what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint


Not sure, but do you know any "larger telcos" that do anything but s*** on their residential customers? My best experiences with phone and data services have been with "regional" providers; the only reason I gave up my last one was that I moved to an area where the only two choices were AT&T and Charter (lose lose).

Re:What's wrong with regional telcos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635756)

Not sure, but do you know any "larger telcos" that do anything but s*** on their residential customers?

Deutche Telecom doesn't. Unless you are willing to pay extra for that.

They get better service. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17634468)

what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?
They will get better service as this company will be more in tune to their customer's needs, while Verizon, will continue to focus on it's core service instead of neglecting the smaller parts of their business.

Smart move (4, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634506)

This means they anticipate a Democratic-leaning FCC in the coming years. By creating structural seperation for the markets where they don't want to roll out FiOS, they insulate themselves from the impact of a ruling to the effect that they have to roll out service in an equitable manner.

Generally speaking (1)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634862)

Since it's far cheaper per customer to provide service to dense areas but existing laws are designed to equalize service costs to rural customers, the question is really about all sorts of legislative changes. For example, if current subsidies end, then the rural areas could become suddenly (more) unprofitable.

It's just as you say, but there's more than one way revenue in rural areas is legislatively unstable.

Personally, I think rural areas shouldn't be treated any different legislatively than anyone else. They'll pay higher costs (reflecting the highter costs of serving them) but since telcos can charge those higher rates without worrying about legislative interference, they'd be willing to roll out better services to anyone willing to pay the rural premium.

Re:Smart move (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635558)

Its not just going forward, my understanding is they're already battling that in New Hampshire. In the wealthy southern edge of New Hampshire, we've had FIOS in some towns for a year or more. (I'm just about to hit a year here)

When talking to a tech recently about when we might see TV service here, as they have it now in a good number of MA communities, I was told that Verizon was fighting pretty hard with NH and that was holding up any further development state wide -- I guess NH told them they couldn't do any new service rollouts if they weren't going to cover the state evenly, or something to that effect.

Now mind you, NH is generally not the wealthiest, or most culturally sophisticated state. Most of it is very sparsely populated, and its staggering to think what it would cost Verizon to roll out fiber service to a town of 1000 people spread out over dozens of miles of which few if any would actually purchase the higher-end services.

If this frees up Verizon to continue their more focused rollouts, more power to it. Sure, its not ideal for people in those towns not serviced by it, but thats the trade off you make -- property costs half, its quiet, no traffic. Boo hoo if you can't get 15mbit fiber service.

Fair Price (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634534)

If they give me $5 I'll take them off there hands.

It may not be all bad. . . (1)

Hero Zzyzzx (525153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634568)

My folks live in rural Vermont, right down the road from where that moose fell in love with that cow [nytimes.com] a few years back. Anyway - they have 3 megabit DSL with a local company (Vermontel, IIRC) that essentially never goes down for something like $30/month. The Vermontel support is great, apparently. I know this by inference - they deal with my father's crap and he speaks only good of them.

Re:It may not be all bad. . . (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634938)

And in Burlington, we've got this alternative [burlingtontelecom.net] that I don't use because I don't have local phone service.

Boy, I'm jealous! (1)

gstovall (22014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635054)

I'm also in a rural area, and my DSL service is 1.5Mbps/512Kbps for $80/month. And that's the ONLY alternative other than satellite available in the area. Service is rock solid, but it sure is a skinny pipe.

Re:Boy, I'm jealous! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635592)

I'd pay $120 a month for that in my area with a smile on my face and a song in my heart given that it's $110 for hughesnet satellite which is 512kbps down, 128kbps up, and people who actually download things tend to be capped very quickly - because I can't get DSL or Cable. Learn to appreciate what you have!

Re:Boy, I'm jealous! (1)

gstovall (22014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635780)

Oh, agreed. I'm aware there are souls out there who have it worse than I do. There are folks here who are just a little too far from the POP and only have dialup (and satellite, of course) available.

My suburban coworkers on FiOS grin at my "skinny" pipe, though... :)

Re:It may not be all bad. . . (1)

superstick58 (809423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636476)

It seems consensus is small rural telco is OK. I just want to mention a possibly related concept. I live in a large metro area and by some impossible scheme my cable provider is a small local provider. I must say content is pretty poor. There is no HD/Digital offering. Internet is mediocre and basic cable service is spotty. The system even goes down in heavy rains because the provider loses the satellite. This is just an example of a small company not having the infrastructure and content that a larger company like Time Warner might provide.

I have had Time Warner in the past and besides mediocre customer service, the content was great with HD channels, all digital, available DVR, fast internet etc. From this experience I have, I would prefer to go with a large provider with the assumption they have the infrastructure to deploy superior content, service, and reliability (price issues excluded).

Wow... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634592)

Anyone else just say to themselves "there certainly are a lot of Amish in those areas..."

Re:Wow... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634722)

Anyone else just say to themselves "there certainly are a lot of Amish in those areas..."

No, because most people know that the Amish mainly live in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York, not northern New England...

That said, Maine still has a few Shakers [wikipedia.org] left. But everyone else would really like to get DSL.

Re:Wow... (1)

mhokie (988228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635032)

Only you and a few other uneducated folk.

Re:Wow... (1)

eclipse_time (866044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635416)

*looks around* Nope.

Oh, lovely! (4, Funny)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634594)

Great! Now I'll have to go all the way to Fairpoint Station to pay my bill. That's way out in the boonies!

Re: FairPoint Station (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634782)

Great! Now I'll have to go all the way to Fairpoint Station to pay my bill. That's way out in the boonies!

Not to mention you could be put on trial for humanity's crimes, by an omnipotent super-being.

Re:Oh, lovely! (2, Funny)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636000)

But hey - you'll get all the delicious apples you'd ever want!

Wimax (2, Insightful)

bstadil (7110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634606)

Wimax is perfect for rural areas and a smaller telco can much easier make deal with various suppliers for test cases. Intel would be a perfect choice since they are already spending billions on Wimax.

Re:Wimax (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635540)

In certain areas. Here in southern Indiana it's hilly enough that even a cell tower can't reach more than a few miles (usually 10 or less) in any direction. WiMax isn't likely to do much better.

Far Point, not Fair Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17634622)

the new customers will be far, far away.

Well here in Michigan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17634648)

They sold our account to a smaller telco. The telco then decided to lower our speed and double our rates., and this was for three different business lines!

As Verizon puts it, "We only want to deal with T1 connections and you don't qualify"

What happens? (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634654)

Nothing. Verizon wasn't rolling out shit. They keep advertising DSL, even though its barely available. "Its cheaper then cable" Great. It could be zero dollars for all I care, I can't get it, my parents can't get it, my wife's parents can't get it, my sister can't get it, etc, etc. I lived in the most populated area of Vermont up until last year, and I couldn't get DSL. I don't know this new company is, but they couldn't possibly do any crappier a job of rolling out DSL then Verizon was.

And fiber? Yeah right, they never even talked about that crap. That wasn't ever even brought up as a bullshit proposition.

At least the customer service couldn't possibly end up being any more incompetent and filled with endless department transfers.

Re:What happens? (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634758)

I know a number of people with DSL in Chittenden County, including one in Fairfax... it's more a matter of how far you are from some hardware dohickey than how populated your area is.

And I could definitely have it in Burlington, but I use cable instead. I haven't used Verizon since I canceled my local phone service in favor of my cell, which is about 20% cheaper per month.

Re:What happens? (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635250)

Sounds like the "early" days of DSL service here in Canada. DSL had a range of about 3km from the CO, provided that the CO was correctly outfitted. Most communities weren't close enough to an upgraded CO when DSL service was first offered, so cable got really popular for broadband. Most network-savvy people quickly realized that cable companies are teh sux0r when it comes to Internet service, so switched to DSL as soon as it was available in their area.

However, unlike the United States, Canada has laws that forced Telcos to eventually upgrade all the COs, regardless of what they felt the market would actually be in a particular area. In the end, I think that it was good for business anyway; there's very healthy broadband competition: 2 large Telcos that provide residential and business connections as well as reselling bandwidth to smaller DSL and WiFi providers and a cable company in case you don't like DSL or don't really care about quality, just quantity.

My understanding is that the United States has very similar network infrastructure to Canada at the time everything started rolling out in 1998. There are some concentrations of high-bandwidth, low-latency networks, but everything is mostly dial-up or cheap broadband. Unfortunately, the difference between the quality of network service you will find in Canada and your average provider in the States is considerable. Maybe the US will prove that capitalism and market forces can bring the aging infrastructure up to snuff in short order, but it's almost 10 years behind Canada and large parts of Europe right now. Believe me, I feel for you.

mandelbr0t

Re:What happens? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635556)

However, unlike the United States, Canada has laws that forced Telcos to eventually upgrade all the COs, regardless of what they felt the market would actually be in a particular area.

Pacific Bell (now SBC's West Coast operation) had plans to put DSL out there to all of their customers at one point.

Unfortunately, besides the usual monetary bullshit (aka graft) Pac Bell got nailed by the FCC for having unreliable DSL and they started getting fined every time someone had DSL connectivity problems. As a result they scaled back from 17,500 feet from the CO to 14,000 feet from the CO. I've got friends who max out their line at all times, at over 17,000 feet (they got installed before the distance rollback.) I was at 15,500 feet when I lived in Marysville, so they wouldn't give me DSL - so I got cable.

At the same time, Pacific Bell was half-deregulated, and the half-assed deregulation meant that they simply had no money. Then SBC bought them and their only plan is to milk everyone for money.

I'm basically waiting for a WiMax provider, because satellite is slow and capped and very high latency, and I live way the hell out in the boonies (miles off a road that takes you miles from the freeway, a sort of back of beyond kind of thing except we have a paved road because some commissioner lives/lived out where we do) so there's no way in hell I'm getting DSL any time soon. In the meantime I download at work, and use dialup at home just for email, very light web surfing, and the occasional patch download.

Why is this assumed to be bad??? (2, Informative)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634812)

If anything, this could make it that much better. Verizon ignored those area because they have a much higer density (therefore more potential customers per mile) in urban/suburban areas. Now with those people under a more local telecom, the company doesn't have to focus on anything but those local customers. And it's not like there's no competition. Satellite broadband is there, even though it's probably expensive, and who knows what kind of wireless broadband might be available. (I don't live up there so I don't know.) So, the new company should be far more aware of customer service than Verizon ever will be.

It's rather presumptuous to assume that the customers will be let out to dry just because the big, bad Verizon is leaving.

Re:Why is this assumed to be bad??? (2, Informative)

spacefrog (313816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635288)

I've had Fairpoint in the past, and I feel sorry for these people. Where I used to live, here is what they charge [fairpoint.com] . These people may not get it as bad, but Fairpoint and Value do not go together. $69 for 1.5/512. OUCH.

So what? (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635984)

You know why they pay $69? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT IT COSTS!

It is a mistake to warp economics so that all customers pay the same price even though some customers cost far more to serve than others. If the telco company has to run and service two miles of cable to provide service to you but only has to run and service 100 feet of cable to provide service to me, you should pay more than I do.

Re:So what? (1)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636356)

I'm not diagreeing with you that rural customers should pay more, but that's the difference between private and public companies. US Postal Service will deliver at a flat rate to Alaska / Hawaii despite losing money, while UPS / FedEx refuse to deliver or will charge higher rates.

Sometimes I wish there was a government broadband infrastructure in place in the US like Korea / China. They pay minimal monthly costs (even when compared to their relative salaries) for better access than I get for $55/mo.

Re:So what? (1)

spacefrog (313816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636434)

It COSTS $35.00 MORE to provide a 1.5 megabit line as it does to provide a 256Kbit line using the same technology? Really? What exactly are you smoking?

I never said everybody should pay the same, I said that Fairpoint has very high prices as opposed to their competition, even in the same area. Thankfully when I lived in their service area, I had the option of using cable for a fraction of the price, which I took advantage of.

Satellite's not all that great... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635320)

Latency's evil. Bandwidth's not all that great either. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharpened stick, but not by a lot.

Re:Satellite's not all that great... (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636280)

Satellite may not be great, but it's a LOT better than dialup which is my only other option where I live (very rural Vermont). I I do find it interesting that Verizon is trying to get rid of us. I feel like they've not had much interest in providing internet serivce out here so it's certainly no loss in my eyes. I've had satellite service with wildblue.net for almost a year now. I got tired of waiting for DLS or cable service which is still nowhere near reaching me. It is reasonable for my needs. I don't play on-line games so that's not a problem (but I'm sure it would be if I did). The latency, while far from great, is good enough that I can type over an ssh connection without going insane. I have a connection at my work which is almost 10 times as fast with low latency so I do know the difference.

Losing Verison is no loss.

Probably... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17636470)

I'll hazard a guess here--because the only upshot of this is that they'll get rid of Verizon?

I wish they'd hurry up with the FIOS service. The US is getting so far behind these days...

I'm a current Fairpoint customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17634958)

Where I am in rural Maine, Fairpoint is the only choice I have for phone service. DSL is slow and expensive, so I hope this means that I can get the same speed and price that my friends in Verizon territory can get.

hope they leave the rest of rual america alone (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634970)

Verizon announced that they are finally going to offer DSL to all customers south of Indianapolis in Indiana. We have no option for DSL, FIOS, cable (TV or internet) or anything like that. DSL will be a welcome change but I doubt if a smaller company would have the capital to handle the setup. There is a lot of open area here. People are spread apart and don't really live in communities or subdivisions.

FIOS isn't even on the radar. The nearest FIOS option is Louisville, KY, about 30mi southwest.

Damned if they do, damned if they don't (1)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634974)

So explain this: people complain about Verizon in so many ways: big evil corporation, doesn't care about the customer, rapes you on unnecessary fees and services, crappy service, etc. Verizon gives up market share by selling their piece of the pie in a bunch of areas to a smaller company. So big bad evil company goes away, and now people complain that the little (well, smaller anyway) guy is back in town? WTF do you really want? Yes, yes I know, welcome to Slashdot....

Verizon has gotten a lot better IMHO (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635754)

About five years ago, my first DSL company was Verizon, and I had a tech problem that I had to solve for them because they didn't do sh!t about it. So, I left. (I will admit, however, that the tech who installed the line recognized that I'm a geek and that I had a LAN in place, so he rigged up the outside box so that I didn't need any line filters in my house at all.) After going through a few other DSL providers who were either crap or gave up on DSL, I went to Comcast. God! What a mistake. Don't get me wrong, the speeds were exactly what they were supposed to be and I don't recall losing my connection once. My Internet series of tubes were unclogged, although DNS would get very slow every night at about 11:30 for some reason. But I got fed up with "Yes, we're going to give to 6 Mb down with up to 15 Mb burst speeds!" while giving a stranglehold of 256 Kb up at a higher cost than competitors.

I finally went back to Verizon DSL because of cost (US$29.95 for 3 Mb down, 768 Kb up) and I must confess that I never had a problem. I just got FiOS a few months ago (15 Mb down, 2 Mb up confirmed and consistent). The tech was very knowledgable, not only about installation but also in the various details about Verizon IPTV, which is not yet available in my area. Last week, Verizon recognized an accidental charge to my old DSL account, called us to let us know about it, and credited my account. And the one time that I had a problem (user account issue), they had it fixed over the phone in about two minutes.

Considering the bashing that Verizon normally gets on Slashdot, I felt that they deserved at least some credit for my experiences with them since I initially left. That doesn't mean that I'm a fanboy or that they can't piss me off enough to make me leave again, but credit where credit is due.

Satellite (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635086)

It's really the only proposition that works economically for remote locations. I used to live in central NY - one day I got a 'free cable installation' coupon in the mailbox so I called the cable company. They sent out a cable guy who looked at my end of the line two miles from the nearest neighbor electrical service and well we got an example of the meaning of ROTFL.

I've since moved away from that location and now live in the NYC metro exurb where I can get 30/5 cable internet. I'd bet the people who bought my previous home now have a satellite dish.

Re:Satellite (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635442)

Satellite is crap. The VSAT people give you like 3GB/mo. That's fucking worthless, I can't even use it for business two days a week with a three gigabyte cap. Skyblue has no capacity out here and hughes wants like $110/mo for their lowest level of service now, and I've heard from numerous people who have gotten capped on their service as well. Like it or not the satellites simply cannot handle a useful amount of traffic. It would be far more effective to just put up a bunch of autonomous wifi repeater blimps than to fuck around with all these satellites.

Maine's Governor comments (2, Funny)

markhb (11721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635112)

Maine Governor John Baldacci (D) has commented [maine.gov] on the proposed selloff. As is his wont, the comment said absolutely nothing.

Re:Maine's Governor comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17636318)

Duh, well, he did say nothing. Basically, "Hopefully the regulations already in place will protect customers." But we already know that's unlikely.

Of course, most of these deals exist exclusively to circumvent promises & legal obligations. I wouldn't expect any new provider to do anything other than milk the current infrastructure until the last crackled piece of copper fails.

If so, I predict that the new owner will be constantly fighting customers and the law in the name of profits. Expect new services and quality improvements only when it is politically critical to the company's bottom line. In other words, senators can continue to get great service. Everyone else is hosed.

FIOS User (1)

madjalapeno (1052094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635218)

We've had FIOS at our place in Southern NH for about 2 months now with Verizon and it works great. I just hope that we keep the same speed and price we are getting now as I was getting used to 15Mb download speeds. Had the same IP all this time which is a big relief as I had heard it was very dynamic. Hopefully this offloading will mean that they no longer block port 80.

Re:FIOS User (2, Interesting)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635822)

Verizon have been making a land-speed record (for them) getting FIOS across southern NH. They've been making a bee-line straight for my house for the last 6 or 8 months (Salem, Derry, Pelham, Hudson, Nashua, from what I understand) and now that they're almost at my door, it looks like they might stop?

I really hope existing customers don't lose their existing access, and I hope the timeframe for this is such that they might not immediately cancel all upgrades.

Since they're going to be the majority stakeholder in the new company, my guess is they have no interest in depriving you of service you've already paid for, more likely is that they don't want to solely front the cost of supporting and building out a relatively sparse area.

Re:FIOS User (1)

madjalapeno (1052094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636180)

We are in Rockingham County, and one half of the town gets coverage, the other does not. It's worth the wait, I'm very pleased with it (although it does seem to loose it's DNS settings in the evening) and would be sad to see it go.

Resistance to this idea (3, Interesting)

nysus (162232) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635240)

Unions are fighting this one because it will mean a further decline in wages in the industry if all those workers go non-union. That's bad for everyone if the rich keep getting richer. See http://stop-the-sale.org/ [stop-the-sale.org] for their arguments.

Verizon Skating out on responsibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635286)

I think it is crap. I'm not from one of these states, but I would guess that Verizon made agreements and postings allowing them to continue to charge their customers a higher rate, and perhaps even raised the rates to cover broadband deployment. They have done that in Michigan, and have still failed to meet those obligations. Meanwhile a lot of people probably have been paying more than they should to Verizon for a roll out that will never happen. A quick google turned out this filing: http://www.state.vt.us/psb/orders/2006/files/6959_ 7142fnl.pdf [state.vt.us]

What will happen? Nothing. (1)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635386)

With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?

FairPoint isn't a "small" telco, it's actually fairly big one, just not in the large Baby Bell category. The customers will get exactly the same service they have now - unfortunately. In my area, which is extremely rural, the company providing phone service has changed hands several times over the past decade. Each time, the same lines, the same services, and the same issues. It wasn't until two years ago that they finally decided to offer limited DSL service in this area. Yes, the 256K I spend an additional $30 a month on is is better than the 24K dial-up that's the other option, but it's not all that great a service, either.

I do understand that it's expensive to roll out fiber, particularly when you're talking running a line 20 to 30 miles between small population centers over a wide area. Which is why the rural areas are usually the last to see it, unless it gets mandated. Which is also why Verizon is so willing to dump a couple of states. It neatly avoids any mandates, and saves them a lot of money.

burlington telecom, etc (3, Interesting)

joetheguy (1048262) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635496)

In Burlington, Vermont's largest city, they already have a municipal fiber optic network.

The City of Burlington, like many other small cities and towns around the USA, has decided to ensure that all of Burlington's citizens and business have the up-to-date telecommunication services they need by building a municipally owned 21st century fiber optic infrastructure.
http://www.burlingtontelecom.net/aboutus [burlingtontelecom.net]

Vermonters often prefer local smaller business, cooperatives, and the like, to the national chains and providers. They do an excellent job up there of doing things their own way. Having FairPoint instead of Verizon will hopefully mean a telco that will work more closely with local government to provide innovate services that reach everyone. The big telcos have fought against things like municpal networks in the past. I don't think they will be missed.

We'll continue not to get broadband (2, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635522)

***With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?" ***

Rural customers in Vermont couldn't get DSL from Bell Atlantic. And they still can't now that the bills have a Verison logo on them. Oddly, they can get DSL from some of the smaller local providers -- notably Waitsfield Telecom which is pretty much the poster child for usable rural broadband for customers in its service area in the Central part of the state.

Unless the Vermont Public Service Commission suddenly grows some balls -- something they've never shown much sign of having -- I imagine that things will get worse, not better with this sale. The governor says that broadband is one of his priorities. But IMO he's a political hack -- mostly mouth. OTOH, occasionally I'm pleasantly suprised. Maybe Jim Douglas or the next governor or the one after that will take some meaningful action.

Those Customers are Better Off Without Verizon! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635562)

I completely detest Verizon and think those rural customers are fortunate to be losing Verizon's services.

I used to have DSL/Dish/Phone/Wireless phone through Verizon, and it was one of the worst experiences ever. The landline was barely audible and full of static. The dish technician was lazy and tried to convince me to cancel their service but "don't tell the boss" because he didn't want to run cable through a wall. Their tech support NEVER answers the phone, and when it does it automatically hangs up on you. "We're sorry, we can answer your call, please call back later..." or something to that effect. You can't imagine how angry that will make you after waiting twenty minutes on the line for an answer.

I have used three wireless phone companies; Cingular, Sprint, and Verizon. I never had issues prior to getting Verizon. Now, after living in two states and using three different phones with Verizon I can tell that in my opinion they have the worst wireless phone service ever. My phones with Verizon drop out at least twice a day. Sometimes the calls don't even go through, and others the person on the other end sounds like they have been smoking for 40 years.

I also have a nice Motorolla phone with Verizon, but it has been completely crippled by their firmware. The bluetooth is disabled so that I cannot transfer contacts via bluetooth. They also seem to have made it impossible to upload your own MP3s to your phone. Instead, you must purchase them via their site. Not to mention they charge you air time as well as a monthly fee for using the net. IMHO, they will do anything to get an extra buck from you without offering any benefit to the customer.

I would advise anyone thinking of switching to Verizon to think twice before doing so. Maybe my situation isn't standard, but look into their service on the web and/or talk to your friends first. When I see the "can you hear me now" commercials my blood boils.

I have shed the DSL/DISH/Phone service and am patiently waiting a couple more months for my wireless service contract to end so I can run to another, more reliable company.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a stable wirless phone carrier in the PA area?

Lucky Customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17635630)

If it goes anything like here in Ks, those customers are very lucky.

Sprint sold off a large territory here to a Co-op telco. That little guy is bringing fiber to every rural home. This is mid-eastern Ks, so a house basically every mile. To start, they are offering phone, data at various speeds, and cable.

I just wish that Sprint would sell a little more because I'm just outside the area they sold. I have to live with my cable company and their crappy service.

Everyone else will pay (2, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635642)

With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?


Our crooked semi-socialist government will do same thing for internet connectivity that was done for voice connectivity. Residents of rural America with cry and whinge about how it isn't fair that they don't get the same service everyone else gets, and demand that they get at the same price. Eventually one of their Congressmen will introduce a bill requiring phone companies to pool a portion of their profits and use it to supply broadband to needy people in rural areas. The phone companies will get their Congressmen to amend the bill to instead charge everyone in the country with internet access a monthly fee and that money will be used to provide broadband to the backward hicks who want to live in the middle of nowhere and still enjoy the comforts of civilization. And everyone in America will continue the slow grind towards our eventual slavery to the wants of others.

Re:Everyone else will pay (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636392)

Not everyone who lives in a rural are is a "backward hick", not even close. I like living where I sit outside and watch animals walk through my backyard, or where I can pop out the telescope and not have to worry about light pollution. How about being able to grow my own vegetables and not be tied to the supermarket. Sorry, but nature > man made civilization.

In short, STFU.

Now if Comcast would do the same (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635782)

That would make me happy.

Half of the time I am getting 5Kb/s. That is cable for you.

Correction: Liberal States + Rural States (0, Flamebait)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635858)

Looks to me more like a list of rural states and states run by commie, leftist, reglation happy, business killing liberals [epodunk.com] from the population densities [wikipedia.org] . You reap...

Monopolies in other countries (2, Insightful)

mxpengin (516866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635940)

This is why, sometimes monopolies are something not so bad, it depends on the country where you live. Here in Japan NTT is a virtual monopoly for landlines, but I am in a semi-rural area and I have fiber-to-home.
In Mexico Telmex is also a virtual monopoly, the prices suck and the technology as well, but you can use DSL more less in all simu-rural areas.
Same policies for all the country. In general I hate monopolies but this is one of the few good points on them.

So? (1)

Yurka (468420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636312)

So Verizon made a business decision which makes sense for them (unless their beancounters are terminally stupid). Most probably they consulted the myriad rules and regulations which our government put in their way, to make sure they are allowed to do that. Surely the /. crowd does not propose that we need to regulate them some more? If not, I don't see this to be deserving of more discussion than the crappy weather we've been having up here lately. It's part of natural environment: water falls from the sky, companies care about their bottom line.

Maine celebrates! (1)

emagery (914122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636394)

Well, this Mainer anyways. Verizon has been TERRIBLE... it is very hard to imagine anyone doing worse (though I suppose anything is possible)
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