Baltimore's Battle For Broadband | WYPR

Baltimore's Battle For Broadband

Aug 7, 2015

 

 

Charly Carter leads a group of demonstrators protesting Verizon's "red-lining" of Baltimore City.
Credit Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew

There’s fairly widespread agreement that access to reliable high-speed Internet is crucial to success. Businesses need it to deliver value to their customers. Students and teachers need it for effective education. Doctors and patients need it for quality health care. Researchers, police, elected officials, librarians, scientists  -- everyone needs it.

No wonder dissatisfaction is growing with how and where high-speed Internet is available in the Baltimore region -- fiber-optic networks surrounding the city, but almost none in it.  

Whose responsibility is it to make sure Baltimore’s businesses and residents have access to high-speed broadband?

 

Our guests are Charly Carter, the executive director of Maryland Working Families and Philip Spevak, co-leader of the Baltimore Broadband Campaign.

Although Verizon declined to take part in this interview, this is the statement they provided: Where’s My FiOS? is a campaign orchestrated by leadership of the Communications Workers of America and its special interest supporters to try to gain an advantage in negotiations with Verizon for new labor contracts.  The timing of the July 29 event, fewer than four days in advance of the expiration of the existing labor contracts, is evidence enough.As we have noted since 2010, Verizon’s focus is on completing our remaining fiber network build commitments under existing video franchises, and increasing sales to the homes and businesses in areas where our all-fiber network is available.  We are not looking to pursue new video franchises or expand our fiber network to new markets at this time. Verizon is committed to diversity, and that is reflected in everything we are and do, ranging from the makeup of our workforce and customer base to where we invest and offer our services.  Claims to the contrary are dead wrong.These types of antics do nothing more than divert attention from the real issues that have to be resolved by Verizon and union leadership at the negotiating table.  Verizon has presented CWA leaders with a solid proposal, and we are committed to reach agreement on a new contract that continues to provide solid, upper-middle-class jobs for our employees, exceptional services for our customers, and flexibility that Verizon needs to succeed in the marketplace.