Advocacy group claims Bell companies renege on promises

April 11, 2006

A report from Broadband Everywhere details specific instances in which Bell telephone companies “made promises” about new investments to get legislation passed and then “quickly abandoned those promises.”

The report, “Frayed at the Edges” targets promises from Bell companies regarding investments in new fiber infrastructure to secure favorable legislation or regulation. Broadband Everywhere is an advocacy group supported by the American Cable Association, the NCTA, several small cable operators and other groups.

Among the report’s findings:

  • In New Jersey, Verizon (and its predecessor companies) has been promising a fiber network since 1991 under a plan called “Opportunity New Jersey.” The plan called for ending regulations on its rates and monopoly profits. Although the company received the legislation it sought, New Jersey is still without its statewide fiber optic network.
  • In Oklahoma, AT&T (then SBC) had promised in 2002 to bring 500 jobs to the city of Enid as part of a $30 million pledge to bring broadband and other advanced services to the state’s rural areas in exchange for a bill exempting DSL services from regulation. After it won its legislation, the company cut 350 jobs.
To read the report, visit www.broadbandeverywhere.org.

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