Verizon accused of forcing Internet phones on land-line users

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Two years ago, California's two giant telecom companies and their Silicon Valley allies won passage of a law freeing phone-over-the-Internet calls from government regulation.

The 2012 law was essential to the creation of high-tech products and services, the industry argued. Its proposal bowled over opposition from consumer advocates. But this deregulation was never supposed to affect phone customers who didn't want to give up their traditional copper-wire land lines, the bill's author, Sen Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), insisted during the debate. Now, complaints are mounting that at least one telecom, Verizon Communications , is doing just that. The company is accused of forcing sometimes unwitting Southern California customers to switch from copper lines to voice-over-Internet connections.

An investigation by the Utility Reform Network, known as TURN, culled the files at the PUC's consumer bureau and found 32 complaints from ratepayers that Verizon doesn't maintain its copper network and is pushing households to reportedly less-reliable Internet phones.


Verizon accused of forcing Internet phones on land-line users