IBEW Local 827 Raises Concerns About Verizon Deal to Acquire Band Width From Cable Companies at U.S. Senate Subcommittee Hearing; Union Advocates for Consumers

Mar 21, 2012, 17:29 ET from IBEW Local 827

EAST WINDSOR, N.J., March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The union representing over 5,000 New Jersey workers in the telecommunications industry spent today lobbying members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Sub-Committee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumers Rights, which is chaired by Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), against the attempt by Verizon to acquire increased band width and to enter into monopolistic marketing agreements with cable companies.

Union representatives pointed out to Sub-Committee members that allowing the so-called "Verizon/Cable" deals to proceed would eliminate competition between video, wireless, voice, and broadband services and service providers. This will result in increased costs to consumers, especially consumers in rural areas, and a significant deterioration in communications infrastructure maintenance as well as the loss of thousands of jobs in telecommunications service.

"We think it is important for the members of the Judiciary Sub-Committee with jurisdiction over these matters to hear from the workers who deal with the consumers first hand," said William Huber, the President and Business Manager of IBEW Local 827. "There are components of the acquisition and marketing deals between Verizon and Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House and Cox Communications that work against the public interest and will have serious negative impacts on consumers. Consumers will be paying more and more for less and less reliable service if this deal is approved."

Huber said IBEW Local 827 has made service to the consumers a "top priority" and that the union wanted to make sure that the voices of the consumers were being considered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Senate.

"Our members are the ones who make sure that people have a dial tone when they pick up their land line phones and access to the internet when they turn on their computers," said Huber. "We want the members of the U.S. Senate to understand that we don't think these basic consumer needs should be sacrificed to corporate greed and a desire to monopolize and entire industry. We will continue looking out for the best interests of the consumers we serve because the companies have basically abandoned that duty."

IBEW Local 827 was also asking Senators to get more information from the cross-marketing deals between Verizon and the cable companies, which were not disclosed to the FCC, in order to make a better informed decision on this important consumer matter.