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Is Verizon Abandoning FiOS HD Television?

rc whalen's picture




 

Two years ago, Verizon agressivley opened a campaign to get communities in New York to adopt their new FiOS fiber optic service for telephony, Internet and digital television.  In my Village of Croton on Hudson, NY, which is located between Peekskill and Ossining in Westchester County, we  responded in a timely manner and even retained special counsel experienced in these agreements to be sure the village's interests were well protected and represented.

Our villagetook steps to move to FiOS because VZ had already negotiated franchise agreements with larger municipalities to the south and east of Croton.  Verizon was busy stringing the fiber optic cable throughout the NY area that would carry the FiOS TV, as well as telephone and Interent, so we figured the service offering was real.  VZ even began an agressive direct mail and newspaper stuffer campaign advertising phone, internet and TV as a combined FIOS package to Croton residents, including my family.

Our community bought the VZ campaign hook, line and sinker.  Like my family, many Croton residents dropped cable and satelite satelitte TV dish subscriptions based on what now seem to be false representations by VZ that the television service was about to be launched.  This was a year ago.  Today we have  FiOS phone and internet,which is great BTW, but no TV.  For me this meant going back to Cablevision and wasting time, again, changing providers.   As of today, VZ representatives cannot give me a date for turning on the TV service and they refuse to respond to queries by attorneys for our village seeking to finalize the service contract.

On more than one ocassion over the past 18 months, the Village of Croton has submitted revisions or comments on the TV franchise agreement to VZ, only to have those documents, which VZ appeared eager to have, go without a response.  The Village of Croton regularly renegotiates franchise agreements with Cablevision, which both set a precendent in process and substance for the VZ FiOS TV matter, as well as show that we do conclude such agreements in timely fashion for other corporate applicants.

Both through our attorney and directly through the village's own contacts within the VZ empire, we have tired to elicit a response fromVZ management, but without success.  Each time we follow up, we get vague answers that do not appear to eliminate the possibility of FiOS TV coming to Croton, but offer no forward motion either.  As of today, we still have no definitive answer, one way or the other.  Indeed, my impression is that VZ has no intention of moving forward with the TV service in our community.  More, in my discussions with VZ field personnel over the past month, there seems to be no indication that VZ is going to actually bring the TV service to Croton on Hudson.  Whereas a year ago, the VZ personnel we touting the benefits of FiOS digital TV, today they say nothing.

In the most recent filings with the SEC, VZ reports that "while "FiOS and IP services offerings continue to positively impact operating results, economic conditions continue to affect parts of our wireline business."  Translated into plain English, VZ is still straining to fund the CAPEX needed to replace the copper-era technology that makes up most of its network even as average spend per household on communications falls under the pressure of a deflating economy.  Will FD FiOS TV be a casualty of the deflating economy?

 

 

 

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Sun, 11/01/2009 - 21:53 | 116935 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

We reside in Croton and had to put up with the mess while our streets were being chopped up for these dedicated duct banks and I had no doubt that some form of unwelcome corporate influence is at play. I have had a cablevision triple play package since 2005 and don't even know much about their quality of customer service because I rarely had to call in! I do acknowledge that the competition is ultimately helpful, if not necessary, but I can't help not to wonder why anyone ever want to get their TV service from what cablevision sensibly calls "the phone company"... Having said that though I still think VZ shares are oversold and resisted shorting it even last Friday.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 15:29 | 116708 rr_
rr_'s picture

Thanks for posting here!  I hope you are Richard Christopher Whalen.

 

From what you say, the danger as I see it is not TV over FIOS, but FIOS deployment itself which is at risk.  Will it end up with intercity high speed rail, low-cost-to-free higher education, and national health care as first world public goods which the US fails to subsidize?

 

Devolution apace?

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 14:38 | 116676 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

They're doing fine in Rye, NY. Sent their reps door to door and offered much better deals than Cablevision. Once they had the TV license set to go we switched.

Occasional support issues aside, superior tv picture especially in the upper HD bands where Cablevision's stream would pixellate and interrupt like mad. No issues with FIOS at all and other broadband services are also fine.

Cablevision is now offering sweetheart deals but for the moment, FIOS is money well spent for us and we get a deal with the wireless and land line bundles tossed in.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 13:37 | 116644 GoldmanSux
GoldmanSux's picture

Nobody has really noticed the increasing risk in VZ. First goes the dividend, stay tuned for this.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 13:29 | 116641 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

The entire United States of America needs to go to each and every single exchange in every town, city and rural area with a telephone.

There, they need to rip out copper wire, aluminum wire, any kind of wire and scrap it.

Install Fiber everywhere. Starting inside our core.

It will take a staggering amount of money to pull us out of the mud of Ethernet and put us into the speed of light.

Television Stations need to demo the transmitters and ship content to all homes by Fiber. Only then will everyone have TV.

They conveniently forget that Fiber can carry a signal 180 miles over DSL's three mile range. They conveniently forget that Fiber cable is lighter and easier to maintain than copper.

I hate to think that we will still be wrestling with copper long after half of us reading this post are dead and gone.

Mon, 11/02/2009 - 09:47 | 117125 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Here is the ramblings of an uneducated madman.

1st off, "...pull us of of the mud of Ethernet and put us into the speed of light"? These are mutually exclusive technologies. Ethernet runs on fiber and copper, and you can run other protocols like ATM, and SONET on fiber and copper.

2nd. "...fiber can carry a signal 180 miles over DSL's three mile range." Fiber can con that far but not with out active repeating (aka amplifiers), but when you split the light (to feed many homes) you lose the distance.

3rd. ... demo the transmitters and ship content to all homes by fiber. Only then will everyone have TV." So poorly thought. Not sure were you live, but in the Northeast they get snow and ice storms, in the south they get hurricans, and in the mid west, tornadoes. These Acts-of-God play havoc on these distribution networks. Over the air transmitters are usually the only means of news for several days until repairs can be made.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 12:55 | 116623 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I signed up for FiOS TV (only) when it became available in my town since it was cheaper than comcast and, at the time, had a better selection of HD channels. based on the customer service experience I had (it takes you 5 minutes per call to navigate the ever-shifting voice response menus to get to a person who can't help you) I'd never want their phone or internet service.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 12:37 | 116613 Fish Gone Bad
Fish Gone Bad's picture

VZ FIOs came down my street and hooked everyone up.  Now the repair trucks are always at people's houses.

I elected to cut my TV viewing down to Heroes (and eventually Lost) that I grab off of Azureus. 

Watching TV is such a tremendous waste of time.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 12:27 | 116610 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Verizon sued Montgomery County, MD for the franchise to sell cable television in Comcast's market. They promised the county counsel to wire nearly the entire county. There are orange conduits strapped to poles that have been there for several years now. It is the contractor equivalent of dropping off a wheelbarrow at a job site and claiming the project is underway.

Does anyone remember the 1999 AT&T promises of "fiber to the curb"?

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:48 | 116589 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

TV? You don' need no steenkin' TV.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:32 | 116581 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Chris,

1. Why on earth would you believe a: "Trust us, but don't verify"?

2. You should know better than to believe for a moment anyone in a position of corporate authority would ever allow themselves to be nailed down as to what they will actually provide.  Service agreements have enough holes to move a 1,000 pound TBTF institution through.  So, why are you attempting to prod one to move?  Unless you goal is simply to hold up a mirror and tell them that they have joined the 1,000 pound man club.

Remember Chris, apply what currently passes for a process of macro and micro prudential bank regulation to this situation and you should have a ahemm, clearer picture.

All The Best

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:59 | 116595 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

+1, here, here.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:16 | 116573 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

You should thank them. Quit wasting your mind on TV.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:13 | 116569 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

The mail blitz at my home has recently shifted from FIOS 3-services offering (phone, TV and Internet) to 2-services offering (phone and Internet) and I have suspected it was about pricing, but having seen this article now I am not so sure.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:05 | 116564 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Verizon & AT & T are vastly overrated among the service providers. I'd rather stick with T-mobile or Sprint even though they dont have the flashiest phones in their line-up.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 10:47 | 116553 rc whalen
rc whalen's picture

Thanks for the comments. I'll let you know if we hear from VZ, but this situation is really odd. 

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 10:13 | 116545 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

I hate phone companies AND cable companies.  Oh for

a viable third option.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 01:22 | 116484 time123
time123's picture

We need better competition in the market. Then it will be easier for consumers to get a good response.

time123

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 01:00 | 116483 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Veilleicht, nach den Frontier Transaktion.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 01:52 | 116482 Brett in Manhattan
Brett in Manhattan's picture

I wish they would "abandon" their direct mail campaign. It's freakin' relentless. Half the contents of my paper shredder consists of Verizon FIOS offers.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 13:27 | 116637 Lionhead
Lionhead's picture

Excellent comments here; also getting tired of all the Geico direct mail. Tired to the point of never considering any Geico products. Way, way too much overexposure sours consumers IMHO. Warren, get a clue here old fellow.....  Consumers are repelled, not drawn to excessive direct mail campaigns.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:57 | 116593 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Do you guys ever ask yourselves why we the public subsidize junk mail by paying higher postal rates for our mail and tax subsidies to the UPS itself?

UPS, now paranoid mail volume is down, hence revenues are down are doing what?

Cutting the rates for junk mail. I read this article a couple of months ago and cannot tell you if it has already gone into effect.

But at least the UPS understands the concepts that all things being equal, customers will buy more of a product at lower prices...

I ask you all again, why are we subsidizing US Corporate junk mail no one wants stuffed in their box? Shouldn't the pubic pay less for postage and the junk mailers pay more? They are using our public UPS that our taxes supported for years...

Oh yeah I forgot, corporate ownership of the worthless hack politicians on the UPS oversight committee...

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 13:23 | 116633 Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

USPS.....

UPS is a competitor of a "local" business ( -> ) here in the Memphis area.  heh

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 10:06 | 116543 Lionhead
Lionhead's picture

Same here is Florida; at least one piece of mail every 2 days. Rubbish.  Neighbor got Fios; within a month the satellite dishes were back up on the roof. Instant red flag to avoid their services. Moreover, their website is a mess. All goes to show the incompetence of VZ management by building a fiber "bubble" network at the credit cycle peak. Fios, no thanks.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 01:03 | 116469 HCSKnight
HCSKnight's picture

Hmmmm... "Like my family, many Croton residents dropped cable and satelite satelitte TV dish subscriptions....  This was a year ago.  Today we have  FiOS phone and internet,which is great BTW, but no TV.  For me this meant going back to Cablevision and wasting time, again, changing providers."

When I read the above I thought "whoever is writing this isnt very smart"... and stopped.  Why read any thoughts from someone so,... {Im trying to find a kind word}, so, so... Uh, I just cant find one.  Stupid is the only word that fits.

With that, the credibility of the whole post becomes... well, I'd be stupid to put any confidence in what the post is putting forth.  So why read any further...

Sorry.

Knight

 

 

 

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 00:30 | 116461 dnarby
dnarby's picture

I live on Staten Island, and while their Internet service is slightly better than Time Warner, Verizon has mysteriously decided to provide slightly less HDTV service for slightly more money than TW.  They seemed to have relied upon dissatisfaction with TW to provide a customer base.

Not exactly the smartest marketing plan.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 06:02 | 116513 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Verizon was slow to enter the market in this area (Boston Northwest). I too remember the marketing splash and to this day, we keep getting expensive inserts in the mail and in newspapers. The suits will never learn. They are selling a commodity. It's about price. With my background, I could go in that place, clean house, cut prices, promote value and make it thrive and profitable. The only way these fools can make a go of it is to screw up, get bailed out and change their name to Government TV.

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:46 | 116588 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Yes "anonymous," it is Government TV because it is Corporate Owned Governance.

That is the beauty of oligarchy business models.

Lower output, poorer quality at.... drum roll please... higher prices.

A dead weight loss to society.

You take abnormal oligarchy rigged market profits and buy politicians, subvert or buy competitors, plow money into advertising. All of which creates barriers to entry for competitors and protects oligarchy advantage.

Every one of the above activities, advertising, buying politicians, buying or torpedoing competitors are all examples of misallocated resource and wasted on what otherwise would have been investment, product and price quality improvements for the public that proper market competition would have provided.

Advertising, buying politicians, buying or torpedoing competitors are all dead weight losses to society (Jamie Dimon and Robert Rubin's careers anyone?).

Long live the "US Corporate Non Competitive Oligarchy Model."

Works for banks, works for health insurance, works for cable, works for communications, cell, internet ... well you get the point.

Sat, 10/31/2009 - 23:20 | 116430 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I used to live in a community which had FiOS TV and I was a subscriber. I then had to move outside VZ-land.

the install was a series of fiascos (with missing drops on the pole, a rotten utility pole, cut and poorly spliced phone lines, an unsafe bucket truck, and any number of other complications), but once they got everything turned on and lit up it worked flawlessly until I moved.

According to http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Verizons-FioS-Deployment-Enters-A-New...
VZ has decided to slow or halt new fios buildouts and put their money into marketing FiOS to the people who are already within a few hundred feet of their fiber.

i'm surprised that they aren't rolling out TV over their existing fiber but I guess the cash for that isn't there, either.

Sat, 10/31/2009 - 23:18 | 116429 Bruce Krasting
Bruce Krasting's picture

Go figure this out. I live two miles from RCW in Croton on Hudson. I have had FIOS tv for one year.  The reason is that I live on the Yorktown side of Croton. Is Verizon running out of money or are the red-lining Croton? Come over anytime and watch tv.

bk

 

Sat, 10/31/2009 - 23:17 | 116428 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

VZ had the best intentions. Obviously, it is great that you have TV alternatives and be prepared for those rates to increase.

Sat, 10/31/2009 - 22:39 | 116417 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

oh stop. the lack of vz tv is more a function of previous cable agreements and vz's inability to penetrate them. we had tv signal here new rochelle 3yrs ago and just had the ability to add tv 6mos ago. we've got it and love it.

be patient. vz will get through cablevision or whatever piece of shit cable company you've got. the last thing vz will do is abandon fios, and certainly not for lack of capex. what will they use cash for - build out hardline?

Sun, 11/01/2009 - 11:30 | 116580 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

I smell Verizon SOCK PUPPET.

Thanks "anonymous" for your pro corporate shill opine...

Sat, 10/31/2009 - 22:35 | 116414 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

We the taxpayers gave Verizon a large tax break so that they would create this new fiber network. I'm in a big town in the sticks so I have no hope of any benefit from this, but you people in the metro areas should let 'em have it. We just had the rural electric co-op down the road shut down because their job is finally done ( except for those Amish hold outs )!

Sat, 10/31/2009 - 22:25 | 116406 Fibozachi
Fibozachi's picture

Thanks for the well-written post rc whalen. Westchester has been waiting over 2 years now to no avail either! 

Telecom was the only sector to trade positively last week with a 0.7% gain ... in a nuclear winter, much like the '00 - '02 period has been termed, telecom tends to outperform as a refuge alongside consumer staples; biotech tends to outperform in the latter-most phase

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