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Verizon The Internet United States

Report: Verizon Claimed Public Utility Status To Get Government Perks 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-both-worlds dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Research for the Public Utility Law Project (PULP) has been released which details 'how Verizon deliberately moves back and forth between regulatory regimes, classifying its infrastructure either like a heavily regulated telephone network or a deregulated information service depending on its needs. The chicanery has allowed Verizon to raise telephone rates, all the while missing commitments for high-speed internet deployment' (PDF). In short, Verizon pushed for the government to give it common carrier privileges under Title II in order to build out its fiber network with tax-payer money. Result: increased service rates on telephone users to subsidize Verizon's 'infrastructure investment.' When it comes to regulations on Verizon's fiber network, however, Verizon has been pushing the government to classify its services as that of information only — i.e., beyond Title II. Verizon has made about $4.4 billion in additional revenue in New York City alone, 'money that's funneled directly from a Title II service to an array of services that currently lie beyond Title II's reach.' And it's all legal. An attorney at advocacy group Public Knowledge said it best: 'To expect that you can come in and use public infrastructure and funds to build a network and then be free of any regulation is absurd....When Verizon itself is describing these activities as a Title II common carrier, how can the FCC look at broadband internet and continue acting as though it's not a telecommunication network?'"
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Report: Verizon Claimed Public Utility Status To Get Government Perks

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  • Corruption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2014 @05:44AM (#47117635)

    Really, all these articles assume that the US government isn't run solely for the benefit of a handful of corporations. If there's evidence that it's not then I'd like to see it.

  • Law & Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @05:56AM (#47117663)

    To expect that you can come in and use public infrastructure and funds to build a network and then be free of any regulation is absurd

    To expect a government to take decisions based on reason, morality or legality is naive. In what regards corporations, the only law is money, the only lawyers are lobbyists and the only judges are (corrupt) politicians.

    If Verizon has made about $4.4 billion in additional revenue in New York City alone, they clearly had enough to pay for a lot of campaigning, lobbying and bribery.

  • Re:Corruption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Rizz (1319) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @06:00AM (#47117669)

    Decentralization isn't the solution to this. If you think the system is a clusterfuck now, just think about how much worse it would be if instead of one law there were 50+ (states + DC + territories) - or, thousands (county/city level). It would keep small businesses from easily doing work outside of one area, while allowing mega-corps the ability to even more easily venue-shop for their headquarters.

    You want a solution that gives more authority to regional/etc. agencies? Simple: Allow each agency, at each level, to throw up a challenge to this type of shenanigans. Verizon pulled some bullshit costing NYC $4.4billion? Then NYC can turn around and enforce the Type II requirements, and send a ripple up the chain to have the feds declare it so nationally. However, you have to be able to stop some in-Verizon's-pocket federal agency from telling NYC, "no."

  • by some old guy (674482) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @06:26AM (#47117719)

    Bullshit. Money knows no party affiliation, and your sainted Democrats are equally as corrupt.

    The only difference between the two faces of the Oligarch Party is the range of hot-button issues they use to create an illusion of real choice.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @06:35AM (#47117753)

    Bullshit. Democrats are crap, but when it comes to ruling for the interest of moneyed interests there's no comparison.

  • by phamNewan (689644) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @06:45AM (#47117779) Journal
    Isn't running circles around government regulation the oldest pass time in America. Look back at how effectively the Stamp Act was circumvented, 250 years ago. The more complex the laws gets, the easier it is to get away with things like this, because even the government can't sort through the complexity of the laws.

    The solution is not more regulation, but simplifying it. If a corporation can make billions, by simply hiring 50 lawyers, or 500, to find a way to make billions, that is huge return on investment. Anyone who expects an efficient and responsive government is dreaming. The only effective solution is to make it so simple, that dodging becomes impractical.
  • Quite easily ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @08:10AM (#47118075) Homepage

    When Verizon itself is describing these activities as a Title II common carrier, how can the FCC look at broadband internet and continue acting as though it's not a telecommunication network?'

    Because the head of the FCC is a former cable and wireless lobbyist.

    Wheeler knows all of the dirty tricks these companies use, likely because he was involved in them. Which means there is no way as the chief of the FCC he isn't aware of these shenanigans.

    Which means he's quietly happy to allow it, knowing that when he finished his term at the FCC there will be some big fat checks waiting for him for all of his help through the years.

    In other words, your regulatory system is broken when you start appointing lobbyists to be your regulators.

    It's the fox guarding the hen house. You might as well appoint Bernie Madoff as the head of the SEC.

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