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Verizon Permitted to Default on PA Broadband Deal 278

Rich writes "This is simply amazing to me. Broadband Reports has the latest chapter concerning Verizon's con of Pennsylvania unearthed by telco-critic Bruce Kushnick last February. A 1994 agreement between Verizon and the state of Pennsylvania paid dividends to Verizon in excess of $2.1 Billion in tax cuts and other deregulatory goodies over the years. Verizon's part of that deal was to deploy 45Mbps symmetrical fiber service fiber to PA homes and residents by 2015 (something they knew would never happen). This week the well-lobbied state has apparently voted to totally ignore the 1995 agreement, after Verizon's already walked away with the cash, leaving PA residents (who are already pretty low on the broadband food chain according to a new report) high and dry."
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Verizon Permitted to Default on PA Broadband Deal

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:10AM (#6477275)
    By about 9am, once their slow connections download Slashdot's pages.
  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <heironymouscoward&yahoo,com> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:13AM (#6477279) Journal
    The unsurprising truth about most such affairs is that governments rarely spend money because it benefits their constituents, they generally spend it because it benefits their friends, and themselves. How much of Verizon's money went straight back to the people making the decision? 10%? 15%? 20%?
    • by espo812 ( 261758 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @08:50AM (#6477552)
      The unsurprising truth about most such affairs is that governments rarely spend money because it benefits their constituents, they generally spend it because it benefits their friends, and themselves.
      I see the argument made time after time, so I will try and make a counterpoint. I will grant you that the vast majority of people (and politicians are mere people, keep this in mind) want to have money and power - and the more of both the better. So how does a politician gain power? By either getting elected to higher and higher offices (in the US from say city government to state government, maybe up to governor and senator, etc.) or by gaining favor with the national parties (the RNC or the DNC) either by helping others run successful campaigns or having the money to influence and power in some other respect (say big buisness.)

      Stay with me. The lynchpin here is that gaining power involves being elected to a high office or being appointed to a major position (cabinet, head of an agency, etc) by someone who is, once again, elected to a high position.

      So - how do politicians get elected (and returning to the argument about money and politics)? Well - the people, and that means you and me, have to give him votes. I hear you saying "no - it's cause they have money!" but that is simply not true. Ballot boxes (or electronic voting machines these days) don't get stuffed with money. I've yet to see dollar ammounts on the ballot to vote for (you do vote, right?) Just having tons of money does not equal getting elected. A politician has to actually get votes by constituents. Big businesses (or small buisnesses, or cats, or dogs) cannot vote.

      That is key. You the voter has infinately more power in the political process than any buisness because only you can vote, and only votes get a person elected to office.

      In summary: if you don't like your politicians getting tons of money (kickbacks, or just campaign funds) then stop voting for them. Money does not an election victory make - votes are what count.

      • by phurley ( 65499 )
        I don't vote for them, I generally vote for a third party, that I feel better represents me; however, if I feel well represented by a Dem or Rep, I will vote for them as well.

        That having been said, beyond the local level votes and (favorable) media exposure are strongly corralated. And you buy media exposure. You can also buy handy techniques like polling for ambivalent voters and then reminding them about your canidate on voting day.

        There is a viscous circle of money and power. We will probably not get a
      • Ballot boxes (or electronic voting machines these days) don't get stuffed with money.
        No, but Telvisions get stuffed with expensive ads.
      • There is one thing you are overlooking... money.

        Yes, the politicians are voted in. But money plays a HUGE role in all this. What money does, among other things, is enable you to carry out actions that you otherwise wouldn't be able to. For example, advertising and other mass "brainwashing" campaigns. I hate to say it but humans fall for that kind of stuff. After all, how can you possibly explain how Americans fought a war in Iraq without any evidence, or how most Americans don't even know they invaded Pana
        • There is one thing you are overlooking... money.

          I didn't overlook money. I specifically addressed it. No - I didn't point out that money is used to sell the product, you already know that. I refuted this position that money is all important in an election or to elected officials. So, I will say it again, no one gets elected from money - they get elected from votes. Is the public ill informed and unaware of most situations? Probably. Is this my fault? No. If the people can afford to not care, who am I to

          • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @12:41PM (#6478767)
            I didn't overlook money. I specifically addressed it.

            Actually, I agree with the second poster: you overlooked money. You did address it but you utterly failed to address why it's important. Basically, an uninformed or misinformed electorate is not able to participate in a democracy properly. Money is used to create and perpetuate the state where the mass of the electorate cast their votes under totally false beliefs. In that sense, money does equal votes.

            Some of us do make the effort to go beyond CNN/Fox/<insert vast faceless corporate newsmachine here> but it takes time and a lot of effort which most people don't have. So, when they vote, the vote the way the money has told them to.


      • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @12:51PM (#6478810)
        > In summary: if you don't like your politicians getting tons of money (kickbacks,
        > or just campaign funds) then stop voting for them.

        This has already happened.
        Did you notice that only 40% of the able-to-vote population voted in the last election?

        All of the politicians on the ballot are trying ot get in to give kickbacks to themselfs and large companys. Not a single one wasnt.
        So if you dont vote for the politicians you dont want, you end up not voting for anyone at all.

        I am sorry to say you are wrong, this is obviously not the solution.
        Unlike as you suggest, we need to keep voting. But to fix the problem, we need politicians to vote for that will be on our side and not sell our rights away out from under us.
        • Did you notice that only 40% of the able-to-vote population voted in the last election?

          Curiosity question... Is it 40% of those eligible voted, or 40% of those on the voting rolls voted? I imagine the voter rolls are loaded with people who have moved, died, or gone to prison and not had their information removed.

          Personally, I'm in favor of scrapping the entire list after the 2004 elections, requiring everyone to re-register, and then tracking who voted in which elections after that. Anyone who misses
      • You may think you have some control over the reigns of power, but look closely at any political system - an I challenge you to find one on earth that proves me wrong - and you will find a marketplace in which powerful men trade their power. Money, favors, other kinds of power... that is what politics and big business is about.
        You do not spend money randomly - why you believe so optimistically that those in power do?
    • Well, really, only a CORRUPT government has this problem. For some reason, you yankees will ONLY vote for the Democrats or Republicans -- both parties LONG since sold out to $BIG_MONEY.

      If there is anyone living in the united states, who is at all interested in seeing your Democracy awaken from its current morbund funk, dont vote for a Republicrat. Vote Green, Social Democrat, Libertarian, Reform, Communist, Natural Law; ANYTHING -- just dont vote for Republicans or Democrats -- tell your friends.
    • What's really going to bake your noodle is when you realize that nobody's ever going to go to jail for this.
  • by LinuxGeek ( 6139 ) <[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:28AM (#6477306)
    to be a Pennsylvanian state legislator when the tax payers find out about all this. Too bad that the real bastards ( at Verizon) won't pay as high a price. Plus most of the legislators that made the original deal in 1994 probably aren't in office anymore. It dosen't sound like they put many checks or penalties into the agreement.
    • to be a Pennsylvanian state legislator when the tax payers find out about all this

      Do you really believe voters will remember? I think more often than not they don't.
      • Typically they are reminded by others running for office.
      • Do you really believe voters will remember? I think more often than not they don't.

        Are you kidding? Voters don't really remember things like who got funding for a new park or school passed. They sure do remember who wasted $2Billion or raised their taxes though. I think the state probably had to raise state taxes to allow for the $1.45Billion in actual tax credits that Verizon got for providing the high-speed infrastructure.

        The citizens of Pennsylvania have already paid and Verizon is trying to weasel

        • Do you remember the savings and loan bailout? Do you remember who was responsible for it? Do you even remember how much money we paid for it and still are paying for it?

          Issues like these get drowned in useless debate and fingerpointing. By the time the election comes around, everybody has forgotten about it, and those responsible will be able to weasel out with phrases like "oh, that old thing, we already showed that what we did was right", etc.
          • I remember the name Keating, but not the amounts. That happened 9 years ago, but the people that were strongly effected still remember.

            When an local ex-comissioner ran again after 20 years out of office, the people that did remember him presiding over a doubling of property taxes made sure to remind new voters. Guess who didn't win.

            I'm not sure if you are just playing devil's advocate here, but pay attention to what is going on in California. Citizens don't always roll over and play dead when they get
            • I'm not sure if you are just playing devil's advocate here, but pay attention to what is going on in California. Citizens don't always roll over and play dead when they get screwed.

              Are you referring to the recall campaign? Yes, people are getting screwed alright: by the Republicans, who think little of wasting enormous amounts of state money because they think it is advantageous for them to have the election take place on a different day. Let's hope citizens will remember that and hand the recall campai
              • Yes, people are getting screwed alright: by the Republicans, who think little of wasting enormous amounts of state money because they think it is advantageous for them to have the election take place on a different day.

                $30 Million for a recall election, vs. keeping a governor that gave us a $30 billion+ defecit and show no promise of doing any better. $30 million sounds like a deal to me.

                • governor that gave us a $30 billion+

                  Bush's "Where's my fiddle? Rome is burning!" Economic policy is responsible for most of that debt.

                  Do you know that during the california power crisis, Bush had the legal power to order FIRC to cap electricity rates -- and he didnt? Guess why? Because Enron whose shit stink he is myred in made something like *8 billion* dollars from the California crisis.

                  The power crisis cost something like 14B dollars, which is *half* the debt right there. This combined with th

                • $30 Million for a recall election, vs. keeping a governor that gave us a $30 billion+ defecit and show no promise of doing any better. $30 million sounds like a deal to me.

                  It is idiotic to hold Davis responsible for California's current economic troubles; do you seriously believe that the $30b deficit is Davis's fault and that someone else could have avoided it? A Republican governor at that, when Republicans traditionally love to increase spending and lower taxes at the same time? And even if Davis we
        • Here is a link [] on some of the history of the S&L bailout.
      • It doesn't matter whether or not the voters remember. If they somehow forget the incumbent's opponents will be more than happy to remind them.
  • by MyNameIsFred ( 543994 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:28AM (#6477307)
    As part of that agreement, Bell Atlantic agreed to have 20% of the state broadband wired by 1998, and 50% by 2004
    I would not be surprised to find out there is hanky-panky going on here. However, before I condemn Verizon, I have some questions -- primarily what were the other parts of the agreement alluded to in the article? Were there other requirements besides providing broadband support? Were those other requirements met? Did Verizon receive all the tax breaks negotiated, or just a portion because they didn't do everything?

    I know this is slashdot, but before I condemn "the capitalist pigs and their puppets in the government," I would like to know the whole story.

    • "I know this is slashdot, but before I condemn "the capitalist pigs and their puppets in the government," I would like to know the whole story."

      Nah, as Asimov said: it's far easier to argue from ignorance ;-)
    • However, before I condemn Verizon, I have some questions

      Condemn first; ask questions later! This is Verizon we're talking about.
      • More to the point, it's Slashdot, where arguing from ignorance is a way of life. Slashdot: where the words "I am not a lawyer" are inevitably followed by "but..."
    • Cliffnotes version:

      Verizon says that they can wire the state for $X.
      Legislators say 'We can't give you $X, but we can cut you a tax break'
      With $X cut off their expenses, Verizion stock raises. Options are cashed. Resultant stock is sold for hefty profit.
      Dot-com bubble bursts.
      PA is left rubbing its ass, Verizon scales back, C*o's laugh all the way to the bank.
      Verizon management states that it is impossible to do what they promised because the (choose one or more):
      B)Lack of infrastructure
    • i think there are plenty of other things going on here, and I think it's good you raised the right questions.

      I use Verizon and in PA. We just got a notice in the mail a few weeks back saying our DSL monthly is going down (yes - down) in cost. I dont know if this was a factor or not, but I wouldnt be surprised.
  • Just the other day.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:34AM (#6477319)
    ..A leaflet from Verizon appeared in the paper. $35/mo for DSL. I laughed, checked their website, and I still can't get it in my area.

    And I can only get cable from a single provider, whom I had dial-up account issues with in the past. (To say nothing of the people I know who do have cable modems from them - chock full of not-goodness.)

    I'm not out in Backwater Boonies, either. I'm between a major metropolitan area, and a small city.

    Pennsylvania. The broadband sucks, the roads suck, the tech job market sucks, and we're swimming in old people(tm). Not that the latter's bad, but retirees don't make for a good economy.

    I pronounce this state befukt.
    • Thats why I moved away 10 years ago.
      At 19, I didn't like the options of being an unemployed coal miner or an unemployeed steel worker.
    • yeah, but they have a plan to replace all that money they gave to Verizon . . .
      1) raise income taxes
      2) increase gambling revenues
      3) say all this revenue is needed for schools
      4) give it to whoever they want anyway
      5) profit !!!

      statistics prove they'll get re-elected anyway, or replaced by someone just as bad, but with different groups in their pocket.
    • Cavelier Telephone!

      We just bought a house in South Philly. We figured, there is no way with 100,000 people per square mile that we could be more than 10,000 feet from the CO.

      Wrong. we are 10,520 feet.

      All we could get from Verizon was the SDSL service at an ungodly amount and a crappy speed. Same with Speakeasy.

      My wife on a lark called Cavelier Telephone. They are advertising all the time on the local news radio. In any case we managed to get unlimited long distance, unlimited local calls, and a 784/

    • I have a cable modem from comcast and a dialup account with voicenet. The Comcast is highly unreliable and I have had to use the dialup quite often; the dialup also encounters many busy signals and disconnections. There is no DSL offered in my area (Feasterville-Trevose).

      I looked around for a new apartment, hoping that I could find a place with both DSL and Cable modem; to find only a SINGLE place that offered both (and allowed cats). That place was $300/mo more than what I'm paying a month now; the plac
    • ...and we're swimming in old people(tm). Not that the latter's bad, but retirees don't make for a good economy.

      Umm...yeah they do. They spend their money but don't take your jobs. I don't see how that's bad.

  • by rmm4pi8 ( 680224 ) <rmiller@reasonabl e r e f l e> on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:37AM (#6477325) Homepage
    my parents operate a home business just outside of a suburban area, roughly 10 miles from a midsized PA city (pop ~100k). the ancient POTS wiring is so poor that no ISP can give more than 28.8kbps actual throughput on a 56k modem.
    adelphia has decided to stop its cable wire roughly a mile from my parents house, and they are too far from the switch for DSL. thus an entire small town has been left behind, to sign up for DirecTV or have fun with the old rabbit-ear antennas.
    when websites started becoming very unfriendly to slower connections, i investigated the possibilities for faster service. the two that emerged were direcPC (satellite) with absurdly high latency, complete assymetry, and an obscene fee, or ISDN from Verizon with an equally obscene fee for a (largely) obsolete technology.

    since 28.8 is becoming really unacceptable (updating a web browser is a real chore), i investigated the ISDN option verizon supposedly offers...2 months later verizon will still not return my calls or email regarding a residential or business ISDN line...they are simply not interested in a lone installation of an aging technology, or may not want to admit that universal availability of ISDN is a sham. i do not know.
    bottom line--only provider actually willing to provide >28.8 service is satellite...10 miles from a city in a northeastern state! they might as well live in rural montana for all the 'information age' cares.
    • Most offers are narrow-band not wideband or broadband. I am 40mi south of NYC. I cannot get DSL, don't want Cable, and Sat provides no internet game capability.

      So, the USA TelCos say FYUS, and pay and loby to keep it this way.

      We are the great Capitalist Republic, you get what you pay for and the citizens can vote, what works better is obvious. Therefor, it looks to be an oligarchic democracy not a plural democracy. You can get nothing for free (unless you're a criminal), if you want something, then pay or
    • Depending on how much you want to pursue ISDN and forcing Verizon to do something, one option might be the PUC. First, you'll have to find out if Verizon is supposed to have universal access to ISDN throughout the state with the PUC, you should also be able to find out the business and residential tarriffs as well. Assuming they do, next time you call Verizon, advise them what you have discovered at the PUC and that you will be calling and filing a formal complaint if you are unable to get the service at th
    • They are running T1 lines over copper these days. Call AT&T or sprint, and have them one to your house or a storefront. From there split it out with wireless. With the right antenna arrangements, you can boost the effective range to 2 or 3 miles.

      I had wireless running between my office and my apartment, a quarter mile away, for a year and a half. It worked through trees and rain. The only time the signal sucked eggs was windy rainy weather. That tended to rustle the trees and scatter the signal.


    • I'm in the process of setting up one of my customer's Aunts with DirecWAY [] (yes, from Evil DirecTV). They also have a competitor in Starband []. Both of these companies offer bidirectional satellite-based internet service. There are two downsides to this service that make it less attractive than DSL / Cable / Wi-Fi:

      1) High latency - takes 1 - 1.5 seconds to start a transfer, but you receive at a decent rate once the transfer starts.

      2) High setup costs - It costs $600 - $900 to set one of these up, however,

    • Sounds like a great business opportunity to ,a href=" 10823.html">roll your own broadband ISP. Go for it. Show that the demand is there, and make money on the side.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    or campaign contribution will do.
  • They'd have found some other way to avoise paying tax. At least this way Pennsylvania tried to get something out of them in return. I also notice that the rule now seems to be that they still have to provide 1.5Mb DSL over copper within 5 days to anyone who asks for it, which is still pretty useful to Barry Backwoods.

    Not that they will, and not that it specifies affordable, but, meh, whatever. They're a corporation. Evil until proven otherwise. What else did Pennsylvania expect?

  • Does anyone know whether the govt guys that were involved in making the original agreement are still around? If so, are they free from legal action, or can they simply wipe the slate clean and get away with it?

    If it's a totally different bunch of guys running the govt now, then they could conceivably justify it as being a dumb decision to enter into the agreement in the first place (using whatever logic they care to present...). If not, then maybe there's some negligence issues that can't be simply signe
  • by release7 ( 545012 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:48AM (#6477359) Homepage Journal
    Gotta love the "what cares" attitude of some of the comments here. Don't the posters understand they are part of problem? That the powerful and well-heeled will continue to rip us off as long as they can get away with it?

    Poor people incurred frothing, hateful wrath of the middle class for getting money for food and rent. Yet these large, powerful corporations walk away with bagfuls of money every day and it's "ho-hum, what else is new?" How bad is it going to have to get before you get angry enough to do something?

  • Cable (Score:4, Informative)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @06:50AM (#6477363) Homepage
    This is playing right into the cable modem provider's hands. They have a more reliable, more widly available, (arguably) faster, and easier to set up service. In State College (PSU's college town) nearly everyone I know has either Adelphia's or CEI's cable modem service, almost nobody has Verizon's DSL. Even those that are lucky enough to now live in servicable areas still went with cable when it was the only thing around, and really have no reason to switch. By the time DSL actually IS an option for most people around here, they will have already gone with cable.

    • Re:Cable (Score:3, Insightful)

      by reboot246 ( 623534 )
      It happened like that here in Alabama. Before I could get either DSL or cable, I told them whoever was first would get my business. Cable beat DSL by 2 1/2 years. Now BellSouth is calling begging for me to change over. One woman said that my cable would slow down the more of my neighbors got on it. I said, good, sell them DSL , but leave me the hell alone.

      Where were you when I wanted you. Where were you when I needed you...
    • You'd think that wouldn't you?

      Unfortunately it's not working out that way here. I live in the what's becoming the second largest population region of PA (the Lehigh Valley). There's no decent broadband where I live. Most homes are too far away from the switching office to get DSL - perfect opportunity for cable providers. But the cable companies overstretched themselves 5 years ago and don't have the cash right now to roll out broadband. The innercity regions do have it - which isn't too bad if you li
  • How can mega-corporations remain competitive and maintain our free market economy without taxpayer support? Just look at what happens to countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan where the telecoms are state owned monoplies. You wouldn't want to end up like that, would you?
    • Japan's situation (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Nakanai_de ( 647766 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @08:19AM (#6477507)
      Just look at what happens to countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan where the telecoms are state owned monoplies. You wouldn't want to end up like that, would you?

      Not sure what you meant by this comment. There was a /. story [] a couple of days ago about 12Mb/s broadband access in Japan for $21 a month, which I'm sure is a situation a lot of people here would like to end up in (judging by the comments to the article).

      In fact, because NTT is state-run, the government is very good at ensuring adequate competition- a bill was just passed forcing NTT to cut the rates it charges competitors for use of its lines. So I'd say that the telecom situation in Japan isn't that bad.

  • Now I know this sort of thing isn't THAT unusual (you know, business getting ungodly amounts of taxpayer money) but this especially doesn't surprise me since our new Governor is the same Ed (Fast Eddie) Rendell who "created" 50,000 no-show jobs in Philadelphia.

    What reason did we have that he wouldn't do his best to run our state into the ground as well? It's not like much of the other candidates had a chance, really, but I did stick to my principles in the last election and voted Libertarian...

    • Voting for wing X of the big money party is NOT going to change things.

      Make a protest, vote extreme, vote ultra-right, or communist (the only way they'll become more right or left is if they truly need to get constituents back from extreme-right or extreme-left parties (or green, or a party for old people, or or or ...) That is if they don't just kill or otherwise dispose of the candidates for being "terrorists"). Get someone who will make a big fuss into parliament.

      This is very effective in most of Europ
      • That's as maybe, but unfortunately it's very difficult in a "two-party" situation where two huge parties are entrenched and no other party gets a look in because of a first-past-the-post voting system.

  • Ironic... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by calebb ( 685461 ) *
    People laugh at This guy [] for spending a couple billion to bring a 12Mbps connection to (everyone) in Japan for $21 a month; Sure his company is in $3.9 billion debt, but he has something to show for it! His customers have a 12 Mbps internet connection!!!1
    • Actually they've already had 12 Mbps connections in Japan for awhile through Yahoo BB. Sure, this new company can offer the service for a little cheaper, but his customers aren't getting anything better. Yahoo seems to even be offering 26 Mbps service there now for $32 a month (assuming you don't need their Wireless LAN package and I'm reading their site correctly).
  • "As Pennsylvania considers its telecommunications policy of the future, I believe that our collective energies will be best spent on creating a climate that allows factors such as competition and demand to flourish." Wow, all competition and demand has brought the entire broadband network of the united states for the most part DSL/Cable is 768k down and 128k upstream. I believe verizon does not even offer anything higher for residential customers anymore. Of course there is a previous article that the ma
  • by itsme ( 6372 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @07:31AM (#6477436) Homepage
    12 years ago I had a 2400 baud modem on a telephone line I shared with 7 others in a student home. these days most rooms in student housing have free 100Mbit in each room. and (no longer a student) I have 2048/512 adsl for 65 euro/month in my own apartment.
    In another 12 years I would expect at least another factor of 1000 increase in easily available bandwitdh.

    this is in the netherlands, ( which is probably different from Pennsylvania ), but still.

    • It's "impossible" because it would, according to the article, require laying fiber, and no one in their right mind wants to lay cables if they can avoid it. Now, they could try it over their phone lines, but unfortunately, unless someone invents the Dense Wave Multiplexing of the DSL world, you're simply not going to get the 45Mb/sec speeds it requires from good ole' copper lines in such a spread out area, which then brings us back to fiber. The 45Mb/sec goal could be reached right now, but there's no one w
  • I suspect (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @07:34AM (#6477441)
    there's more going on here than just bribery. $2.1 billion is too much money for legislature reps to walk away from. I mean, the votes you could buy with that kind of money far outweight whatever campaign contributions where involved. Maybe I'm wrong (it's possible that all this is happening so quietly no one's really noticed besides the /. crowd). But this is a hell of a lot of money for the legislatures to just kiss goodbye.
  • by sublime99 ( 653101 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @07:45AM (#6477450)
    Hello, I live in an area outside of a small town in Pennslyvania, and i am about 1/2 mile away from two way cable modem, i got stuck with one way. With the lovely technology known as one-way i have to go through verizon for the upload (local phone company). When i talked to a tech support person at Verizon, i was told "28.8 is an acceptable speed" . I am in area where I can not get two-way cable or dsl, so whoever gets to my area first will gain 47 new customers, and I have the petition to prove it. My tax dollars are NOT getting spent well at all in my opinion. That money that was given to Verizon could of probably been used for the public library funds they are trying to cut in this state....
  • I knew the telecom industry was sleazy what with practices like slamming and whatnot, but now it seems to have gotten downright criminal.

    It looks like Verizon just ignored it's contract with the state of PA.

    In my own state Qwest (we put the 'w' in qwality) has been under investigation for shady financials.

    Anybody else been noticing a general contempt for the general population from the telecoms?
  • by Zygote-IC- ( 512412 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @07:55AM (#6477468) Homepage
    Guy walks through the Pennsylvania state house
    "Can you pay me now?"
  • by DukeLinux ( 644551 ) on Saturday July 19, 2003 @08:03AM (#6477481)
    Verizon, PECo (now Exelon) all own our politicians lock stock and barrel. It's not right, but that is how it's done in PA. Anyway, I have Verizon DSL and it works quite well. I don't have down-time more than maybe a couple times a year - usually due to heavy storm activity. I wish it was cheaper but the cable company is a monopoly too and will rip me off just the same. PA does not like competition - it stifles political graft.
  • I live in a suburb of Philadelphia, and currently Comcast provides excellent cable-modem service. I have yet to really test the maximum download speed, but I'm guessing it's in the vacinity of 3200-4000kbps, while the upload rate was recently upgraded from 128kbps to 240kbps. Most ping times are also excellent. Of course, I did have to put up with many, many years of dealing with a 56k internet connection, but once the cable modem was availible, all was great. I suppose the moral of the story is: good
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 19, 2003 @10:00AM (#6477810)
    The real point of this article is not to inflame the reader about corporate greed and political scandal. As long as you haven't been living under a log for your entire life, you should be well aware of this.

    The article shows me that simply a mistake was found by some intelligent people in state government, and it was repealed. The only reasonable alternative in this case was that Verizon continued to have its state-paid benefits for 11 more years, which is unreasonable. Thank God that the Mennonites decided to take their heads out of their rears now instead of later.

    If you're incensed about the fact that Verizon got off "scott-free", then get over it. That kind of thing can't be fixed. Who's going to pay back the state of Pennsylvania? A company always hovering near rock-bottom? Where is Verizon going to get all the cash to pay the state back? Even worse, why would Verizon ever have to pay back money that was due to it by contract?

    Supplying fiber to every home in PA was a joke. I'm just glad that they caught this in 2003 instead of waiting until the year 2015 to whine about it.

    • Who cares if Verizon can or can't pay back the cash, the state should go after them anyway to deter other companies from trying to pull off the same stunt. If they bankrupt the company it is not a problem for the economy, the company can still run when in Chapter11. The only people who will lose are the shareholders of Verizon, the most important of which no doubt sat on the board of directors planning this rip off. Too bad for them.
  • Reduce ISP costs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BubbleNOP ( 688841 )
    I think the main problem with broadband is the method ISPs charge for Internet access. I propose that, since broadband ISPs are virtually a monopoly, they should all just get switch away from flat rates and charge per bytes transferred. RIAA will be happy too since the cost of bandwidth will then effectively eliminate many P2P swappers. ISPs will then have more money and will be able to provide service to more areas.
  • Big, important projects are what the government is good at. Look at the state of electricity distribution in America around the early 1900's. Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration pushed for the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, wiring many rural areas for power that public companies would have ignored.

    Another example: The interstate highway system. Do you think for one minute private industry would have created this system? If they did, it would only connect major towns, and require astrono
  • Out here in Loudoun County Virginia -- home of AOL and major WorldCom offices, in addition to a myriad of other high tech companies -- there's very little in terms of broadband. If you are lucky, you can get the crappy Adelphia cable, but that's three years late in some parts, still.

    But let me return to the focus of this message -- Verizon. We can't get DSL in much of the county because of fibre loops and because there's simply a lot of fibre underground, instead of copper. Nothing 100% substantiated, b
  • That's even better than being paid not to grow crops, which I've been considering. I was going to try not growing five acres of corn, and if it worked out well, maybe expand to twenty acres. But it sounds like I'm better off getting paid not to install fiber.

Enzymes are things invented by biologists that explain things which otherwise require harder thinking. -- Jerome Lettvin