In areas Verizon no longer cares about, DSL and phone customers complain that the company is effectively letting customer connections rot on the vine completely. That’s because Verizon’s largely given up on those areas, and likely believes that wireless broadband will be the most economical solution for those customers.
In other areas within Verizon’s FiOS footprint, Verizon will forcibly upgrade customers that have be unswayed by FiOS sales pitches, but only if they vocally call the company to complain about service. The Philadelphia Inquirer says it has acquired a Verizon document that details precisely what needs to happen to get that ball rolling.
According to the document, Verizon’s internal “Fiber Is the Only Fix” program involves upgrading DSL or POTS customers that call twice in 18 months for repairs – or live near someone who does. If those customers refuse to be upgraded to fiber, the company flags them and refuses to upgrade their DSL issues:
The customer is told that a technician truck will roll for repairs. Verizon’s customer-service system then generates two tickets on the repair call: one for a repair and a second, called a “ghost service order,” to replace the copper with a fiber connection. Once at the customer’s home, the Verizon technician tells the customer that the only solution is to switch to fiber, which includes the installation of a FiOS box. If a flagged copper customer needing repairs ultimately declines fiber upgrade, the Verizon document commands: “Do not fix trouble” with the copper line.
While most people are happy to have the upgrades, Verizon employees have told us previously how some people (often the elderly) fight the upgrade, preferring the reliability (especially during power outage) of a traditional dial tone. Some of these customers complain to the Inquirer that Verizon isn’t being transparent about its “fiber is the only fix” program. Verizon currently still serves roughly 11 million DSL customers, many of which it hopes to upgrade eventually, but most of which will likely be sold off in future sales.