Verizon sale is bad deal
On March 16, members from several organizations gathered outside the State Public Service Commission (PSC) office to deliver petitions with signatures of over 5,000 West Virginians opposed to sale of Verizon’s land-based phone lines to Frontier Communications. If you have a hard-wired phone in your house or business, this sale could impact your service.
Verizon spends tons of money promoting wireless while letting land lines rot. They can’t wait to shed them, like a snake shedding its old worthless skin.
Verizon has already dumped wired service in New England and Hawaii by selling it to smaller companies in a complicated deal that left the smaller outfits millions in debt while Verizon walked away with tax-free millions through a tax loophole. This is all well and good as corporations are in the business of making money. Except, the smaller companies had lots of problems integrating all their new customers and ultimately went bankrupt under the debt load.
I know Verizon has problems with land service. It’s not an accident. They believe wireless is the future and don’t want to put money in old technology. But customers, who clamor for the company to be sold in hopes of better service, beware! If you think service is bad, what will it be like if Frontier buys it and goes belly-up?
When Frontier needs more cash (remember all that debt) to service the old neglected Verizon equipment, they’ll go to the PSC for a rate increase.
Petitions were from organizations, including Communications Workers of America, AARP and WV Citizen Action. The groups came together to protect workers, consumers and seniors who would be adversely affected by disruption in phone service or spikes in cost.
Much of the state’s rural population has no other access to telephone service than the wires connected to their homes. It’s a lifeline in case of fire, flood, health trauma or other disaster. The elderly are particularly at risk without dependable communications. We all depend on the help offered by dialing 911, but this essential service was disrupted in New England after Verizon sold its lines.
The PSC staff and consumer advocate have called for the sale to be rejected because of the financial uncertainty and risks. The PSC will make a decision in April or May. Now is the time for West Virginians to let their opinions count. Give the PSC a call (while your phone still works) at 1-800-344-5113.
Gary Zuckett, Executive Director
West Virginia Citizen Action Group