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Verizon Asks FCC to Remove Cable Industry Obstacle to Consumer Choice in Bundled Services Market
Consumers Must be Able to Choose New Cable Providers as Easily as Choosing New Telephone ProvidersNews Release
March 26, 2008 –
WASHINGTON - Seeking to remove a significant obstacle to consumer choice and competition in the market for bundled communications services, Verizon today asked the Federal Communications Commission to require the cable industry to make it as easy for consumers to choose a new video provider as it already is for them to switch voice providers.
In a separate filing with the FCC earlier this week, Verizon said that the cable industry delays its customers' switches to competing voice providers by regularly failing to meet the commission's timing requirements for local number portability.
Currently, many cable companies refuse to accept video service cancellations from a new provider, creating extra work and confusion for consumers. However, long-established procedures enable a new provider to submit a voice disconnection order on behalf of the customer.
"The process to switch video providers is more cumbersome for consumers," Verizon wrote in a petition filed with the FCC today to request a declaratory ruling. "Cable incumbents do not accept disconnect orders from the new provider; instead, they require the customer to contact them directly to cancel service after choosing a new video provider and to return equipment.
"This significantly complicates the process of switching video providers, thereby entrenching the cable incumbents' dominant market position."
Verizon also stated in its petition: "Because such a ruling will establish parity in the processes for cancelling telephone and video services, it will facilitate the ability of consumers to switch video providers, enhancing competition both in video services and in the triple play of bundled services. ... It is well within the commission's authority to make this declaratory ruling that will foster robust competition between cable incumbents and other video providers."
In a separate FCC filing Monday, Verizon asked the commission to stop a pattern of cable industry efforts to interfere with customer choice and convenience when customers want to transfer their voice service from a cable company to a new carrier and retain their local number. Verizon stated that cable companies routinely delay the ability of their voice customers to obtain more attractive offers from competitive providers by violating the FCC-approved customer transfer, or "porting," intervals Verizon and others have long met.
In addition, Verizon has explained that the cable industry is attempting to use the FCC and some state-level regulatory processes to protect itself from competition by preventing customers from even receiving information about attractive competitive offers - so-called customer retention efforts - that would benefit those customers.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 66 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
David Fish, 202-515-2514