Verizon, CWA settle New York copper network dispute, agree on repairs, improvements

Verizon and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have reached a settlement requiring the telco to repair and make improvements to its copper network infrastructure throughout New York state.

Under the terms of the agreement, the service provider agreed to repair 54 central offices across the state; replace bad cable, defective equipment and faulty backup batteries; and take down 64,000 double telephone poles.

Additionally, the agreement addresses broadband expansion to major apartment buildings in New York City and over 30,000 homes across the state.

RELATED: Verizon, CWA reach copper network settlement in Pennsylvania

CWA said in a post on its site that the settlement with Verizon was prompted by a CWA campaign to pressure the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to require Verizon to upgrade and repair the legacy telephone network and to expand consumer access to broadband.

In 2015, CWA, 20 allied organizations and 70 legislators filed a request for an investigation, providing substantial documentation of Verizon’s failure to maintain its copper network. Later in 2016, the PSC opened a formal proceeding with extensive discovery and evidence collection. CWA and Verizon agreed to a settlement, which has been endorsed by the PSC staff.

The PSC must now approve the final settlement.

A Verizon spokesman told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that it has addressed the concerns raised by the CWA and that it was happy a resolution was agreed upon.

“Verizon is pleased that we and Department of Public Service Staff were able to reach agreement on the terms of the proposed settlement,” the spokesman said. “We believe the settlement proposal reflects a reasonable resolution of this contested proceeding and that it directly responds to the service quality concerns raised by the PSC in opening this case, and we hope the PSC will approve it.”

New York is just one market in which CWA and Verizon have battled over the condition of the telco’s copper lines.

Verizon and the CWA reached a similar agreement in Pennsylvania last year under which the telco will make several upgrades to its copper infrastructure, following complaints that the telco was allegedly not performing necessary upkeep on the state's network.

Under the terms of that agreement, Verizon will repair and replace bad copper cable, faulty backup batteries and defective equipment and will take down 15,000 double telephone poles.

A Verizon spokesman previously told FierceTelecom that the telco continued to make what it said were “substantial investments in the wireline network each year—more than $3.4 billion last year alone.”