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State’s Deal with Verizon on High-Speed Internet Services Finds Few Friends in NJ

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State’s Deal with Verizon on High-Speed Internet Services Finds Few Friends in NJ

Cities, towns, rural communities — as well as Division of Rate Counsel — all argue that telecom company reneged on agreement to provide broadband to entire state.

The so-called stipulation settlement will not take effect unless approved by the BPU commissioners, w

State’s Deal with Verizon on High-Speed Internet Services Finds Few Friends in NJ

Cities, towns, rural communities — as well as Division of Rate Counsel — all argue that telecom company reneged on agreement to provide broadband to entire state.

The so-called stipulation settlement will not take effect unless approved by the BPU commissioners, who have not decided yet when to take up the issue, a source of controversy for years.

Opponents argue Verizon has not complied with a 1993 law, requiring 100 percent of its territory to be upgraded to high-speed broadband service by 2010. That failure has left some rural towns and poorer communities without access to meaningful broadband service, according to critics.

Verizon responds that New Jersey is the most wired state in the nation, with 99 percent of it having access to broadband service. New Jersey is one of only five states where 81 percent to 97 percent of the rural population has access to high-speed Internet service, the company argued in briefs filed in the case.

“Verizon has satisfied its regulatory commitment under Opportunity New Jersey,’’ said Lee Gierczynski, a spokesman for Verizon New Jersey, referring to the 1993 law.

Division of Rate Counsel Stefanie Brand contested that view, acknowledging a substantial part of the state has been wired, but more remains to be done to meet the 100 percent commitment made 21 years ago.

“The last part of it is less profitable,’’ Brand said, adding “A deal is a deal. The board should not accept anything less that what was bargained for and paid for by New Jersey ratepayers.’’

Under Opportunity New Jersey, Verizon won approval to deregulate many of the phone services it offers to its customers in exchange for providing 100 percent of its customers access to fast broadband service. Just what form that service would entail remains a big source of dispute. (Johnson/NJSpotlight)

https://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/03/26/state-s-deal-with-verizon-on-high-speed-internet-service-finds-few-friends-in-garden-state/

ho have not decided yet when to take up the issue, a source of controversy for years.

Opponents argue Verizon has not complied with a 1993 law, requiring 100 percent of its territory to be upgraded to high-speed broadband service by 2010. That failure has left some rural towns and poorer communities without access to meaningful broadband service, according to critics.

Verizon responds that New Jersey is the most wired state in the nation, with 99 percent of it having access to broadband service. New Jersey is one of only five states where 81 percent to 97 percent of the rural population has access to high-speed Internet service, the company argued in briefs filed in the case.

“Verizon has satisfied its regulatory commitment under Opportunity New Jersey,’’ said Lee Gierczynski, a spokesman for Verizon New Jersey, referring to the 1993 law.

Division of Rate Counsel Stefanie Brand contested that view, acknowledging a substantial part of the state has been wired, but more remains to be done to meet the 100 percent commitment made 21 years ago.

“The last part of it is less profitable,’’ Brand said, adding “A deal is a deal. The board should not accept anything less that what was bargained for and paid for by New Jersey ratepayers.’’

Under Opportunity New Jersey, Verizon won approval to deregulate many of the phone services it offers to its customers in exchange for providing 100 percent of its customers access to fast broadband service. Just what form that service would entail remains a big source of dispute. (Johnson/NJSpotlight)

https://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/03/26/state-s-deal-with-verizon-on-high-speed-internet-service-finds-few-friends-in-garden-state/