Meet Verizon's Subsidiaries-- Who have taken Control of the Wires, Your Services, and Caused Net Neutrality.
Part VI,a in the series based on the new report "It's All Interconnected".
Every month you pay your communications bills, and yet, in plain sight, these indecipherable collection of charges hold the secrets to solving Net Neutrality, (NN). If fixing America's communications problems and NN required you to understand something about the charges on your phone, broadband, Internet, cable and wireless bills, would you be willing to do it? As they say -- No pain, no gain.
This is a Verizon, Brooklyn New York small business grocery store phone bill. As you will see, this bill is a model of just how bad the situation really is for customers and it will expose some of the basic issues about the causes of Net Neutrality.
I know you don't read or understand these bills. In the 1990's, there was a famous Candice Bergen commercial for Sprint which compared the directions on how to build a B2 Stealth bomber or the structure of DNA with the phone companies' charges and plans. In fact in the 1990's, Sprint used our research in an advertisement which asked -- Do you know what you are paying for one minute of long distance? The answer: After 1000 consumer interviews only 3 out of 1000 got it right and they probably guessed.
I'll attempt to make this as painless as possible, but if you feel nauseous or light headed, we recommend Dramamine (with Meclizine). And I promise I will relate everything back to how to solve Net Neutrality over the next few articles in this series.
Here are five basic questions: What do you think the answers are?
1) How many lines does this customer have?
a) 1 line
b) 2 lines
c) 3 lines
d) 4 lines
e) 5 lines
2) What is the 'Total Cost" this customer is paying Verizon for this month's charges?
3) How many Verizon affiliate companies (subsidiaries) are offering service and charging this customer?
Hint: While it may appear that there is only "Verizon", other Verizon companies, known as 'affiliates', or 'subsidiaries' (of the corporate parent, Verizon Communications) are offering services to this customer.
a) 1 company
b) 2 companies
c) 3 companies
d) 5 companies
e) 6 companies
4) How many services does this customer have?
5) This is an excerpt from this bill.
What do these charges, with $0.00, mean?
a) These are 'idiot charges' added to confuse the customer so that their eyes glaze over and they just pay the bill.
b) It is a mistake that was never fixed.
c) The customer's services were transferred to another part of Verizon.
d) Who knows?