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Businesses Verizon Communications The Almighty Buck

Verizon Sells Off Wireline Operations, Blames Net Neutrality Plans 214

itwbennett (1594911) writes "Verizon Communications will sell its local wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas for $10.5 billion, citing uncertainty around federal Internet regulation as one reason for the move, although Verizon executives said the sale has been in the works for several years. It's no secret that local wireline phone service has been a shrinking industry, and Verizon and other carriers see mobile as their greatest growth opportunity. Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam cited the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming net neutrality proposal as another potential threat to the growth of wired services. 'Washington should be very thoughtful how they go forward here,' he said. 'This uncertainty is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America.'"
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Verizon Sells Off Wireline Operations, Blames Net Neutrality Plans

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  • F(ck them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:39PM (#49003209)

    That's just an excuse.

    • Re:F(ck them. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:19PM (#49003385)

      convenient one at that.. considering the deal was likely in the works long before there was even a hint of the threat of internet regulation.

      the real reason: verizon has huge debt and just committed to spending bazillions more on new wireless spectrum and they need some way to pay down some of that new debt.

      • Re:F(ck them. (Score:5, Informative)

        by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @10:55PM (#49003711)

        Verizon has been trying to shed their wireline service for years. They have done a few here and there, using Reverse Morris Trust (basically a way to fuck the company buying VZ's assets, and the constituents... Frontiernet has screwed up everything they have touched)

        The timing just coincides with the FCC ruling, and a great opportunity for VZ to talk out of it's collective ass

        • Where I am in Oregon, they sold the Fios business to Frontier years ago, long before net neutrality was mentioned. This is not a new thing.

          I don't have a problem with Frontier internet. The Verizon Fios customers should consider themselves lucky that Verizon is dropping them and passing them on to Frontier.

          • Re:F(ck them. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Sri Ramkrishna ( 1856 ) <sriram.ramkrishna@gmai l . com> on Saturday February 07, 2015 @03:23AM (#49004391)
            Frontier is awesome! They are the only company I know that lowered my monthly rate and up'd my speed. Unheard of.
            • They don't mess with Netflix either.

            • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

              Yep, I moved from Verizon FIOS in the Washington DC area to Frontier FIOS in Redmond.

              With Verizon I had to pay extra for the Business FIOS service so they would unblock server ports like HTTP/SMTP. Ostensibly it was worthwhile since I also got better customer service that didn't sound like they were going to step on a puppy if I didn't follow their script. The service would also go down 5 minutes into any power outage, even though my ONT and other equipment had plenty of battery power in reserve.

              With Fron

              • >They still use the troublesome Actiontec router that Verizon had

                You don't have to use that. The bleed through problem with the Actiontec is that it is the reason they're dragging their feet on IPv6. The Actiontec router doesn't do it.

          • by Nkwe ( 604125 )
            Also a Frontier customer in Oregon (as a result of the sale from Verizon). I have had no issues with service since the sale. I have both the FIOS and hard wire line service and they both work great.
        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          Verizon has been trying to shed their wireline service for years. [...] The timing just coincides with the FCC ruling, and a great opportunity for VZ to talk out of it's collective ass

          How does them wanting to shed wireline services for years contradict their assertion that net neutrality laws had an impact on their decision? Net neutrality has been discussed by regulators for at least five years. The earliest ruling I could find was the FCC Open Internet Order 2010, signed into law in December 2010. I'm not sure how long before that these issues have been discussed by regulators, but I assumed it was for many years before 2010.

          Even if net neutrality only became an issue recently, it coul

          • The earliest ruling I could find was the FCC Open Internet Order 2010, signed into law in December 2010.

            The Open Internet Order was not signed into law. The FCC, which is part of the executive branch, created it. Laws, by definition, must come from the legislative branch (the House and the Senate.) Part of the reason that it was struck down is because the courts found that the FCC stepped outside the boundaries of what Congress told the FCC it was allowed to do. It's important to remember that the FCC has a fairly narrow mandate (that the legislative branch is allowed to modify) when Congress tries to reign t

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        considering the deal was likely in the works long before there was even a hint of the threat of internet regulation.

        There has been the threat of internet regulation since at least the FCC Open Internet Order 2010 which was signed into law in December 2010.

        There has been the hint of regulation since at least 2005, when the FCC released a poilicy statement [fcc.gov] establishing four principles of the open internet.

    • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:41PM (#49003483) Homepage Journal

      Our customers expect to get screwed over, and this legislation would put a stop to that for wired service. To ensure consistent customer experience, we must unceremoniously dump our wireline customers.

    • Re:F(ck them. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @11:20PM (#49003771) Journal
      Indeed, the fact that someone bought it implies that someone thinks they can run the system profitably.
      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        Indeed, the fact that someone bought it implies that someone thinks they can run the system profitably.

        The worry is that regulation will cause less investment, not no investment. There will always be someone trying to make a buck, but in the case of wired communication we probably want as many companies as possible investing in our infrastructure.

        I'm not making an assertion that net nuetrality may or may not hurt investment, I am only claiming that the fact a company was willing to buy the lines from Verizon is not a good indicator that the sale was a good investment for either side. For instance, there were

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:39PM (#49003211)

    ... for your fuckups and lack of revenues?

    Gee, here's an idea .. about you stop with the crappy customer service [consumeraffairs.com] .. so you know, you actually can *acquire* customers for the long term.

    • Holy crap, there are a LOT of complaints [google.com] about Verizon ...

    • 'This uncertainty is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America.' Really now? How is this not good for American jobs? These assholes can't outsource the infrastructure. They can't outsource the plant, the fibre, the maintenance workers and installers... I fail to see how this is really bad for the consumer at all. Here is the fact. In wireless they are able to sell you small chunks of data at criminally marked up rates where as in wire line and fibre they generally are not able to l
      • They don't want Net Neutrality, so anything and everything bad that happens is going to be down to Net Neutrality.

        Trouble in the Ukraine escalates into WW3? Net Neutrality would be to blame. A dinosaur killer asteroid on collision course with Earth? All cause by market instabilities due to Net Neutrality. Osama Bin Laden returns from the dead and starts making more Dr Evil broadcasts? Net Neutrality. That's what you get..

        In fact, if the Large Haddock Collider was to collide too many Haddocks at once a

    • The service is bad because most of their IT support is offshored. So much for saving American jobs.
  • The test run was the former SNET region. ( Last year )

    Trust me when I say other regions are soon to follow. Especially in the regions where they have not ( and have no desire to ) deploy their U-Verse systems.
    • by unrtst ( 777550 )

      The test run was the former SNET region. ( Last year )

      If this all means that the new ma bells will be selling off all their landline stuff, I'm all for it!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

      All the systems have re-united under either AT&T or Verizon. There is a spattering of smaller LEC's, but those two hold the vast majority of system. Why did we break up Bell before? Why in the world did they (regulators) allow these to coalesce?

  • It's so not fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:41PM (#49003217) Journal

    Why can't they have legal monopolies and abuse their position to compete with Netflix via throttling and charge $100 for a 2 Meg pipe and still be a broadband provider which means no taxes. Wahaha EVIL socialist bastards.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:26AM (#49003969)

      Wahaha EVIL socialist bastards.

      I'm not sure why people keep trying to cast these stories as a failure of market capitalism, and socialism to the rescue. The cable and telecom industries in the U.S. are a classic example of a failure of government regulation. The monopolies exist because they were granted by the local governments, which prohibit competition. And many of the problems we see like net non-neutrality would in fact be solved by allowing market competition. If Comcast had had competition and they deliberately degraded Netflix service, they would've bled customers once word got around that Netflix sucked on Comcast but worked great with competing ISPs.

      "Socialist" Europe has actually gotten this one right. For the most part they're not trying to control their ISPs with heavy-handed regulations. They're regulating it just enough to maximize competition. i.e. Their ISP is closer to a free market than in the U.S.

      • Re:It's so not fair (Score:4, Informative)

        by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @01:39AM (#49004147)
        It's because most people today tend to grossly misunderstand what socialism is, and what "market capitalism" is.

        An actual "Socialist" would want to do something like nationalize all the major telecom companies.

        Market Capitalism, on the other hand, relies on the Government acting as arbiter and enforcer of basic rules of fair competition, because that is a core requirement. When Adam Smith was alive, Socialism hadn't even been thought up yet. Instead, you had the government (generally run by a Monarch/Nobility) granting exclusive privileges or outright monopolies to certain individuals or corporations, like giving the East India Company a monopoly on the import of tea.

        Sound familiar?

        This is what we're having the argument over, here - whether or not the government will act to encourage competition and curb monopoly abuses, or whether it will let the status quo of monopolistic preferences and abuse continue. Nobody's even remotely talking about nationalization.
        • This is what we're having the argument over, here - whether or not the government will act to encourage competition and curb monopoly abuses, or whether it will let the status quo of monopolistic preferences and abuse continue.

          No, the question here is whether we will let the status quo of government granted monopoly abuse continue, or whether we should move to a new model with MORE government granted monopoly abuse.

          Nobody is talking about legitimately deregulating telecommunication franchising at the municipal level. That would result in less monopolization, but God forbid we put that on the table.

      • My point was to draw satire of those brainwashed by lobbyists and those who listen to people like Rush Limbaugh.

        Since the poor evil government decided on this it is therefore socialism and an attack on freedom!

        It is not logical or thought. Just government = bad. Do nothing = good. Socialism = government so therefore bad.

        Which is why Republicans want a hearing to censure Obama for undo influence [arstechnica.com] on creating Title II and doing this job as the president. It was him implementing evil communism according the Ver

        • Republicans want a hearing to censure Obama for undo [sic] influence on creating Title II and doing this job as the president.

          The FCC is supposed to be an independent executive branch agency. In theory, it doesn't exist to do the President's bidding. (When a Republican is in office, the press calls this an indicator of "The Imperial Presidency.") But when an "independent agency" comes up with rules that the President asks for in the press that help his cronies, the other party will raise this concern. This happens all the time.

          • Republicans want a hearing to censure Obama for undo [sic] influence on creating Title II and doing this job as the president.

            The FCC is supposed to be an independent executive branch agency. In theory, it doesn't exist to do the President's bidding. (When a Republican is in office, the press calls this an indicator of "The Imperial Presidency.") But when an "independent agency" comes up with rules that the President asks for in the press that help his cronies, the other party will raise this concern. This happens all the time.

            Is not the president the chief executive of the executive branch of government? In essence he reports to Obama

  • Translation... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:43PM (#49003225)

    Our huge profit margins are not maximized under the current plans, and it means we cannot use our government enforced cartels to force other companies to pay us again for services the end users are already paying for.

    Therefore we will 'protest' by selling off an area of the business we have been planning to sell of for normal commercial reasons for quite some time, but using our highly paid group of lobbyists and spin doctors, we will make you think this is bad for you, and therefore change the playing field to make us even more profitable, at your expense.

    The sad thing is some people will actually fall for this rubbish.

    And the sadder thing is it wont matter if you dont fall for it, because 'campaign contributions' mean they get whatever laws they desire anyway, given enough time and no one peaking behind the curtain.

    Welcome to the new world.

    • Re:Translation... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:12PM (#49003343) Journal

      Therefore we will 'protest' by selling off an area of the business we have been planning to sell of for normal commercial reasons for quite some time, but using our highly paid group of lobbyists and spin doctors,

      Lobbyists and spin doctors?
      Any media who reports "Verizon blames net neutrality" is basically falling down on the job.
      Journalists and editors are supposed to have some minimal obligation towards reporting the truth.

      âoeWashington should be very thoughtful how they go forward here,â [Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam] said. âoeThis uncertainty is not good for investment, and itâ(TM)s not good for jobs here in America.â

      The sale of the wireline operations has been in the works for several years, Verizon executives said.

      Those should not be paragraphs 5 and 6.
      Heck, "in the works for several years," should have been the headline.

      • It kind of sucks reaching at Rush Limbaugh, but he has declared there is no journalism in the media any more. It is all media narrative reports from media narrative reporters.

        Interesting thought though. Even if people do not like the source.

        • It kind of sucks reaching at Rush Limbaugh, but he has declared there is no journalism in the media any more. It is all media narrative reports from media narrative reporters.

          Well, he would know, since he pretty much invented replacing journalism with BS.

    • Unfortunately, you're right. People don't know what the hell this means. My local news tried to sum it up: net neutrality means your ISO can choose which web pages load quickly and which load slowly. Fail. Some people, myself included, attempted to correct them and educate readers in the comments. However, people quickly adopted a bipartisan, anti-regulation, or general anti-government mentality regarding the issue.
      Want to kill net neutrality? Put it in the hands of the people.

  • Ever notice how "uncertainty" has come to mean "something we don't want to happen"? Not just net neutrality, it's everywhere. It's like, everything we support will last forever, everything we oppose is uncertain because someday we'll manage rid of it.

    • Re:Uncertainty (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:08PM (#49003333) Homepage

      Talk of uncertainty is simply PR=B$ to hold up the sales price. They are simply selling the copper network which they have degraded to crap with poor maintenance, other bits are tacked on in order to protect that price. Incumbents all over the world are looking to dump their degraded copper networks with only idiots looking to buy or scams like in Australia where Toxic Tony and crew who strangled the national NBN project to death are going to dump billions of dollars of taxpayer money straight into the pockets of two corporations and their investors by buying a degraded copper network.

      Here's betting exactly what the incumbents will do once they dump the copper, install a new fibre to the premise network and burn the suckers who bought the copper with gold. I wonder how many countries governments will be corrupts enough to buy into the same deal being done in Australia.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Why should they expect certainty? Certainties in economics don't exist except when you're a monopolist getting rents.

      • Why should they expect certainty? Certainties in economics don't exist except when you're a monopolist getting rents.

        I can't tell whether or not you intentionally answered your own question.

  • if you thought the 100k IBM layed off was impressive, just watch how we, a company too big to fail, shit all over the peasantry if you dont get back to kissing our ass.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:47PM (#49003241)

    Funny... Verizon outsourcing jobs is good for america but this isn't?

    "This was all in an effort to cut costs and make larger profits. And profits they’ve made. During the same period of laying off thousands of workers, Verizon made more than $19.7 billion in profits and received a $758 billion federal tax refund."

    http://www.goodjobsnow.org/201... [goodjobsnow.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:52PM (#49003257)

    Verizon sucks up tax breaks and rebates for building out fios and then tosses it usually to frontier that just barely maintains it. This is how they operate, they hardly ever keep landlines once they are done building in the area and frontier never adds to the network. It is a scam they have ran since they started installing fios as keeping and running the actual network is a not as profitable.

    • Don't have mods but parent needs to be +5. FIOS was all an elaborate scam to steal from the taxpayer.

  • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin ( 1505111 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @08:56PM (#49003277)

    This is actually quite silly. Plans to sell 11 figures worth of business assets ($10,000,000,000) don't happen overnight. This has obviously been years in the making.

  • The pick play near the end of the Super Bowl caused some guy to die [huffingtonpost.com].

    Deals like this don't happen overnight, they can't even get an agreement done within several months.

    • The pick play near the end of the Super Bowl caused some guy to die [huffingtonpost.com].

      No, TFA you linked to says it didn't cause him to die. In fact, he didn't even watch the game. The family blamed the Seahawks in his obit [legacy.com] as a joke.

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:07PM (#49003325)

    Verizon Communications will sell its local wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas for $10.5 billion, citing uncertainty around federal Internet regulation as one reason for the move

    Fine, if Verizon has a problem with Net Nutrality, perhaps they should not be in the Internet business anyway.

    I think their best be is to go the HP route and switch to ink-jet printer ink.

  • by stevel ( 64802 ) * on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:16PM (#49003365) Homepage

    This is not new for Verizon at all - they have been shedding their landline and FiOS business for years. Back in 2007 [wikipedia.org] they abandoned Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, selling off the business to FairPoint Communications, a tiny North Carolina company that struggled for years to overcome billing system issues. FairPoint announced then that they would not be expanding the fiber Internet service (FiOS TV never got started here) and the service has been static since then. (On the positive side, my bill hasn't increased since 2007!)

    Even in Massachusetts, where Verizon still operates FiOS TV, they announced a couple of years back that they would not expand service to more areas. This tripe about Net Neutrality is just a convenient smokescreen for what they've been planning all along.

    • Ironically, Verizon sold off their North Carolina services to a Connecticut based company (Frontier).

    • This is not new for Verizon at all - they have been shedding their landline and FiOS business for years. Back in 2007 [wikipedia.org] they abandoned Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, selling off the business to FairPoint Communications, a tiny North Carolina company that struggled for years to overcome billing system issues.

      For people that think that no provider could be worse than Verizon, take a look at customers' opinions of FairPoint.

    • by wytcld ( 179112 )

      Verizon sold their New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine landlines to FairPoint in a way that had huge tax advantages for Verizon. FairPoint took on so much debt that it went into bankruptcy within a year, as Verizon and FairPoint knew was likely. It's come out of that, but there's currently a strike against it going on several months now which it has been refusing to even negotiate on, preferring to bring in scabs from outside the region. The cause of the strike is that FairPoint wants to lower wages and drasti

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @09:52PM (#49003517)
    Verizon tries to blame Frontier sell-off on net neutrality [dslreports.com] has another take on this topic.

    As we've noted, Verizon's been looking to offload its fixed-line assets for years, since the company clearly finds wireless service (and caps and overages) a far-more profitable venture. As such they've spent the last few years actually raising rates and neglecting unwanted customers in the hopes they'll leave to wireless, or leave to companies like Comcast (where they'll then be pitched...you guessed it...Verizon Wireless services as part of a co-marketing arrangement). After massive sales to Frontier and Fairpoint in years past, Verizon this week convinced Frontier to buy all of the company's DSL and FiOS customers in Florida, Texas and California. Amusingly (or not), Verizon is trying to spin the latest deal to pretend they were forced down this path because of net neutrality: ...

  • by mckellar75238 ( 1218210 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @10:02PM (#49003541)

    'Washington should be very thoughtful how they go forward here,' he said. 'This uncertainty is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America.'" It's SO nice to realize that they have their customers' best interests in mind...

    I know, I know -- they have to make a profit. But it would be nice if someone would realize that net neutrality is about fairness to the consumer, not about maximizing corporate profits.

  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @10:13PM (#49003573)

    First the Good, Yeah I won't have to deal with their fucked up customer service anymore. Here that Verizon? You suck donkey balls!
    The baby bells became too big and with too much consolidation. If they want to take their ball and go home crying fine. Maybe I can now buy my set top boxes because your network is built out now and being sold. I'm tired of paying fucking fees just because "you're building your network out" It's been over 5 years now, let me buy the box or get Tivo without it costing me an arm and a leg.

    The Bad, I don't know who this other company is or how it treats its customers but I'll find out. I also can assume that they'll jack up the rates to pay the $10 Billion it'll cost them to buy this infrastructure from VZ. If they don't work out I can always go to TW/Comcast...Oh shit I'm screwed.

  • FTFY Verizon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cantankerous Cur ( 3435207 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @10:33PM (#49003641)

    'This uncertainty is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America.'

    'Overpriced unreliable internet is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America'

  • 10.5 Billion is a lot of money.

    Maybe they suspect that Google and Space-X will launch new satellite technology that will make these wired lines obsolete.
  • by PineHall ( 206441 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @11:28PM (#49003799)
    The FCC is trying to create an environment of certain well defined rules, but you, Verizon, keeps taking them to court. If you want certainity in federal regulation, stop suing the FCC.
  • internet freedom + Job security => ObFranklin

  • by BrendaEM ( 871664 ) on Saturday February 07, 2015 @12:16AM (#49003939) Homepage

    What's the matter? Can't extort? Aw, poor thing.
    Please leave Verizon, tomorrow.

  • Google should just buy Frontier and get access to all that fiber. Change out the hardware on the ends and they have instant Google Fiber.
  • This will result in increased competition. What's the downside exactly?

  • That uncertainty is crippling. Finally enshrine Net Neutrality in laws and be done with it!

    • That uncertainty is crippling. Finally enshrine Net Neutrality in laws and be done with it!

      Then perhaps they should stop spending all the money fighting against it. Pretty difficult to complain about the uncertainty when they are a leading cause of it.

  • Verizon raped it's customer base pretty badly on the wireline side. And I do mean raped. You see back when they were all Ma Bell and a regulated monopoly partof the revenue had to be put back into upgrading OSP. Except once the regulatory clamps were released - they stopped doing that. In fact that is common among telecom, electric and natural gas providers who got deregulated too.

    Public utilities should NEVER be unregulated.
  • Wirelines? Internet neutrality?

    So Verizon is selling off it's wirelines because of the 5 people who still use dialup?

    Aside from the obvious lie about why they are trying to get rid of something they've been wanting to get rid of for a long time, they really throw in a clinker....

    The "Job creator" angle. Never worked, never will. It's like having three dogs, and you give one a dog treat. You think he's going to share any of it with the other two?

  • 'Washington should be very thoughtful how they go forward here,' he said. 'This uncertainty is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America.'"

    Why not? Uncertainty drives change, and uncertainty at this point was created _by Verizon._ Granted, something had to change, because what the big ISPs have been doing is abusive at best.

    Besides, it was Verizon that started this mess by trying to change the rules for its own benefit. Complaining now is just sour grapes. Enjoy your new Titl

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