Verizon will pull the copper plug in 2018
A heads up to those on Verizon regular telephone or DSL service. Verizon will decommission copper wire service in Massachusetts starting in 2018.
The web address below explains what will happen. PDF documents for Massachusetts are linked.
Further search of the PDFs will list street names and street numbers that will be impacted. Found mine easily.
Some families (I am aware of personally) in multi-dwellings that have FIOS already installed in 2 or more dwellings have already received termination letters stating their copper service is ending, and to switch by a published cut-off date. The one I saw was for back in September of this year. Comcast was also in the building so they went with a Comcast bundle.
This means that you will need to switch to another carrier, or wait to see if Verizon will sell these copper telephone switching facilities and customers to another company such as Fairpoint Communications.
This is the trend nationally with this company.
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I read the PDFs.. and I want to point something out.
VERIZON IS NOT KILLING THE ENTIRE COPPER NETWORK FOR THE STATE.
Verizon is ONLY killing copper out of Central Offices that offer FIOS and/or planned to offer FIOS in 2018. This is all.
However, everything else is correct about the post. Verizon is tired of maintaining its copper network (and from the looks at the wire centers I've seen on streets.. no fucks are given anymore about fixing it).
I feel sorry for elderly who rely on landline copper service... they will suffer the most. As will the poor because the rates and discounts only apply to copper service, not to FIOS service (since the law is written for COPPER, and not fiber optic so Verizon does not need to offer comparable service)
Do you know if...
...there are any legislators, at the state or federal(ha!) level, that are addressing this issue?
The Wheeler FCC set up some
The Wheeler FCC set up some pretty good rules for the tech transition in 2015, but the current FCC has moved to absolutely gut those rules.
Massachusetts is also one of staggeringly few states to retain basic telephone regulation.
Fios Voice =/= Voice over fiber
Fortunately, the protections arent totally gone. While you're correct Fios voice does not have protections, the State still requires Verizon offers a regulated landline service in its fiber areas. While Verizon might try to upsell you or grandma to Fios, just tell them you want the same voice service as before and you'll get it at the same terms and conditions. The only big difference is that power will no longer come from the Central office, so you'll need back up battery and should check if your old devices are compatible. Verizon must also make this option known in the letter it sends.
While there's a LOT of issues regarding copper transition, Massachusetts is one of the few states to protect the traditional voice option, even under fiber.
You're right. I only speak or really know about the FCC laws. I forget MA has some stronger ones.
But this is Verizon we are talking about. They will try to sell Grandma Fiber that she doesn't need instead of just offering her a phone line.
And my other point was the low income phone (aka .. and I hate using this term but people know what it is... "Obama Phone").. I can't wait to see Verizon try to wiggle out of offering this service. They will, because now with Fiber install and Equip, Verizon will lose their shirts on each low income telephone.
Oh, they might try to talk you out of it, but they have to offer the voice line and offer lifeline, the low income. No if, and or but about that one.
As a general PSA, if you or a relative is getting the runaround on copper transition, call the state. There should be a number on the Verizon bill.
So, we can start charging Verizon property taxes now...???
Verizon has (somehow) never paid property tax in MA, according to a buddy. With the last remaining copper being phased-out (turning them into an internet company) can we finally start taxing the multi-billion dollar company?
Any guesses on how much property taxes for their switching building at 45 Belvidere Street in Back Bay would run? I'd guess at least $80k per year
Specific locations where Verizon is doing this
(NOT statewide) are in:
I have Verizon DSL and my muni is not affected by this. But that day will come. I agree with the reliability comment made below. That's why I still have it, even though it costs more not to bundle with Comcast.
Is it legal?
I know they've been trying to get rid of their copper lines for years, but they've gotten in trouble before for doing so, or for failing to maintain them in good condition.
Copper has a strong appeal of working even when the power goes out. I believe VOIP also allows them to discard the requirement that 911 calls work...
It is Legal*
It's legal, provided Verizon gives you 6 months notice. This is per the FCC in 2015.
As for 911, the FCC HAD something called a "functional test" that meant that, if a service is being discontinued, a comparable service is still offered including reliable 911 service.
However, yesterday the FCC removed this functional test. There's going to be a lot of wrangling, but the protections for service are severely reduced. All and all, the FCC just proposed or proposed to remove a lot of protections consumers had
Fortunately, the State also has protections for basic voice service, and they apply for both copper and fiber. However, state law does not allow the regulation of VoIP, which includes Fios voice and comcast/charter/rcn voice.
Copper line definitely was a good backup
I worked for many years in an area that constantly had phone outages. The copper lines always worked as a backup--we maintained five or six for this reason. One line was for the alarm, a few for the switchboard and one was for (don't laugh) the fax machine.
But if they disconnect my
But if they disconnect my landline, then my desk phone will work as well as my verizon wireless phone.
I just went through this with
I just went through this with my mother in another state in the last few months.
With the caveat that I don't know if there's some crucial difference in state laws...
In her suburb, Verizon went through the progression of fiber, FIOS, rollout, notices, etc... The endgame was reaching the point where they would no longer maintain copper in her area. Once some line or switch or something failed - that was it. They do nothing to repair it.
Her only choices at that point were - take their fiber package or go with the cable company.
Verizon will do their damnedest to do that to everyone eventually.
Not surprised to see Dorchester on this list. I live there and it seems like they do the bare minimum to maintain copper now. Our landline voice quality is awful, and our internet connection really suffers in the rain.
Long Range Plan
Many of the communities that lost communications infrastructure after the last major hurricane found that Verizon refused to restore their copper lines. deregulation saw to it that there was no reasonable legal way to compel them either. So if those people in NY and NJ wanted telephone, they were SOL.
Soon after Verizon did install cell towers and offered a "black box" that would communicate with the local cell tower, and you could plug your old land-line phone into it. It essentially turned your hard-wired phone into a cell phone of sorts. Of course if you wanted Internet, that was a totally different device -- and additional fees.
One saving grace to all of this (??) is that in Boston, not all communities, even those on the decommission list, have FIOS-fiber as yet, so it is unlikely that in those areas the copper will be decommissioned next year, at least not until the installation numbers for FIOS are raised up. This filing is the beginning of that process.
Those communities that got fiber first will see the copper go away first.
If the city or state is successful in stopping some of this, you can expect Verizon to sell off the copper network to a different company. They have already sold off their holdings in other new England States and parts of Western Mass to Fairpoint Communications. Verizon also has sold off holdings in CA, FL, the Pacific Northwest, and several states in teh Great Lakes region.
Their long-range plan is to be completely wireless, so even fiber as a service is dicey, but it requires less attention once installed and operational. The plan in Boston is to also roll-out more localized neighborhood cell towers that will connect to the fiber lines to offer fiber speeds via wireless technology. Known as their 5G service, Boston will be a test bed for that and once the bugs are ironed out they will move with it nationally.
I expect a few neighborhoods will not see fiber at some point during the Boston roll-out and those will be due to accessibility issues. These people will only get the 5G wireless services.
Frankly speaking, none of this is a surprise to me. As a person retired from hi-tech i have been watching this drama unfold for a year or more in various fora and saw the handwriting on the wall. Personally, I think our elected officials may not have had benefit of a lot of this info from other states, i.e. how the company was progressing, and the multiple legal challenges in multiple states where they backed-off installation of FIOS. Making decisions based on tech-availability alone is not always a good move.
That said, I did my homework --carefully-- and got FIOS several months ago. Save for a couple of reboots of the TV box, and an occasional reboot of the router due to a game box refusing to pull an IP (the game's fault, not the router), it has been working quite nicely. That said, I also got the back-up battery to run the land-line (hard wired) phone if the power goes out, and invested in a few 2200 ma/h back-ups for the cell phones -- just in case.