The Trouble

Is Somewhere Between the Pole and Babylon

Day 9.   To read it all, hit the link above.

The following is very funny on neighborhood internet services

“Rage has caffeine enough. I dial 866.995.5632 from bed and demand to speak to a supervisor. There is resistance. I beg. I get an all-American male voice. He says, The trouble is between the pole and Babylon. I say, “That is a great title for something.” He continues: The whole shelf is out. It’s a flooded station. It has been that way for over a week but will not be repaired until 24 other people complain. “What?” It takes 25 people to fix a station. “That’s another fine title,” I say. Don’t ask me why, but your neighbors have not complained in sufficient numbers yet. The flooded station is on the same street as your house. I suggest you mobilize your neighbors.”

“Mobilize my neighbors. I have not heard that phrase since the Vietnam War protest days. The memory triggers a minor acid flashback. Grace Slick is licking my ear. Thank God for medical marijuana. It helps me find the golden lining inside silver sheep, or some such aphorism. Should I opt for Optimum? My Verizon has been down for so long that once it is up and running, I figure the odds are mighty sweet that I will have service for a long, long time, or at least until the next super storm or Nor’easter. A white rabbit runs across the lawn. I chase it.”

Excerpt from Day 10

At my front door is a man in a shirt with the red Verizon logo. My atria fibrillates. He asks me if my internet is running. I ask him if this is a joke. He says no. I ask him why he is going door-to-door in 2014 and asking people about their internet service when he can simply look on the Verizon grid. He says he is trying to mobilize the neighbors in order to push his bosses into some positive action. My flashback has a flashback.

“The East End of Long Island is a loser. Verizon employs too many people and has too few customers and too many disasters. You can’t get FiOS, can you?”
“They want you to quit so they can dump the business.”
“Verizon wants me to quit Verizon?”
“You didn’t hear this from me.”
“I didn’t?”
“Verizon wants you to sign up with Optimum.”
“They do?”
“I have to go. Good luck.”’

To the person who wrote this: Bruce Buschel on Nov 18, 2014 and updated January 2015, thanks it was a great read. It was found the by searching “verizon + trouble” We thank you.  So. Optimum or Verizon?


This is an outreach page. It will list people and organizations who are leading the way for reliable and affordable access to the Internet. Suggestions and comments to improve the resource page are welcome.

This outfit works for a free and open internet.  They work in support of ISOC, to assure the beneficial, open evolution of the global Internet.  They can help promote local initiatives that help solve problems faced the New York area. New York Chapter is here.

Those heading for deep end of sustaining net neutrality turn to this resource  for your professional development as an ISOC member in the New York area.  The “orgs” and “sources” list on this site is extensive.  If you come across one that is especially useful for a neighborhood like yours or mine (AKNA) please let us know. See menu “CONTACT.”

Internet 101

The hearing was packed with people.  About fifty workers from the CWA and another fifty people like us and some officials from community boards, the NYC Comptroller (audit report), and the Public Utility Law Project (analysis).  It was fun and informative – nothing like a mix of irate consumers and informed watchdogs. The post states the end of the comment period to the PSC is August 24, 2015.  If you have any personal experiences with Verizon, please use the comment section below and forward it to the PSC.

Testimony to the NYS Public Service Commission 7.15.15 We got action about two years later.

Delivered a short presentation at the PSC so the kids (including mine) could get services.

New York City’s entire infrastructure comes first, but there is a short list. The things on that list come before our physical mobility or concern for public structures from schools to seawalls, because without special care of the things on the short list, none of it matters.

Some may remember a lesson learned long ago in NYC when a young truck driver drove to his death as an elevated section of the West Side Highway collapsed before his eyes.  What was that lesson?  Preventative maintenance has no constituency, lobbyists, or stockholders demanding the regular use of paint on highway steel.

Hearings like this should be about our common sense powers. Only a few things require a “paint the steel” attitude, so here is the shortlist — gas, electricity, water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, including all government IT systems.

All of us know the last item on this list is now the glue holding it all together. We are wholly dependent on our ability to sustain our use of communication technology.  Today, it is a complicated mess, unlike the picture in this testimony of what the telecom system looks like in my neighborhood. Concerning our experience with Verizon and all of the ISP providers in our network, we need to reboot the ‘paint the steel’ lesson.  This is what the PSC should know and do:

  1. Every word written by DoITT and every other watchdog agency in New York City and State on this issue is true. All appear to stand helplessly before giants such as Verizon. Stand with the watchdogs on this one.
  2. Aggressively enforce the existing franchise agreement and eliminate ambiguity as we advance. This is required for one reason. The principle of “good faith” is dead or “passed.” The “handshake” between principles (Verizon and its customers) led to a nasty sucker punch. Stand with the watchdogs for as long as it takes. It would be best if you had the added resource.
  3. The FCC recognizes the need for a national high-speed infrastructure. The FCC set the minimum to 25 Mbps. In our experience, 3- to 6-Mbps means we do not have “broadband” as the report suggests. Stand with the FCC’s rules that are attempting to get us up to speed with the world.
  4. The children in my community love their phones to text and talk. Our kids have us, but businesses in my community, the city, and the state are without backup when service fails. Without the practice of net neutrality embedded in the 24/7/365 experience of growing in New York City and State, “text & talk” is all the young will have, and small businesses will have no backup. Back up is the first rule of IT. NYC does not have it.

The Albemarle-Kenmore Neighborhood Association (AKNA) is a community of professionals in many fields. We confirm the practices of Verizon contribute to landline decay; repairs are timely, but also repeatedly.  On other matters, the delay is in 10-day cycles lasting months or years.  This leads to a higher cost for service subtly.

The impact is damaging to the economy of my community and especially on low- and moderate-income households. Data lines are a vital source of access to the internet for work and education, news, and entertainment. Mobile services are heavily marketed but expensive for all three basic functions.

Verizon’s century-old copper lines’ unreliability leaves families with poor access to the most important economic stimulus of this century. This leads to added subscriptions to mobile and satellite services, further stressing our community’s bank accounts. Whether it is copper or fiber, the preservation and improvement of basic services are vital to our districts and neighborhoods’ families.

Verizon can claim ‘state of the art’ technology. With work like this, “anything is possible”.

The concerted effort of AKNAs members is like a rock and resistance from Verizon (and Cablevision) the hill.  Accordingly, we discarded the rock and launched a neighborhood media campaign in our own interest that we believe is in the entire community’s interest.

We seek the participation of a PSC technology officer. We believe that updates documenting our experience may be of use over the next few months or years.  We look forward to monitoring our combined progress on this issue.

Rex’s comments to the NYS Public Service Commission.  Share with this link: or hit play below

PSC on Verizon

To Submit a Comment to the PSC 

Audrey Zibelman, Chief Executive Officer
Contact: James Denn | (518) 474-7080
re: 15052/14-C-0370

Internet or Mail

In addition to speaking at the formal hearings, members of the public desiring to comment may submit written comments by sending them electronically to the Commission’s secretary at or by snail mail to:

Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, Public Service Commission
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1350

RE:  Comments on Verizon: Case 14-C-0370

Toll-free Opinion Line: Submit through the Commission’s Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. Comments on pending cases from in-state callers may occur 24 hours a day. Callers should press “1” to leave comments for the cases referenced above.

A summary of comments are reported to the Administrative Law Judge and the Commission. The report may be obtained at or by searching Case14-C-0370 in the Department’s Document and Matter Management System (DMM).

Submit comments no later August 24, 2015, but will be accepted throughout the pendency of this proceeding. Written comments will become part of the record considered by the Commission.

Access written comments may be accessed on the Commission’s website by searching Case 14-C-0370 in the input box labeled “Search for Case Number” and clicking on the “Public Comments” tab. Many libraries offer free Internet access.

The Commission’s decision will be on the Commission’s website.  Search for Case 14-C-0370 as described above.

Obtain Commission orders from the Commission’s Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

Seven Declarations

Declarations develop an emotional capacity for change on behalf of family and community, a town or city, a state and nation, province and commonwealth. The following declarations describe qualities of life known to the people and organizations of the dense urban environment. Each one strengthens the purpose of ‘the city’ for more effective technology, continuous innovation, informed public policy, and global urban leadership.


  1. Produces High Levels of Collaboration
  2. Sustains Micro-Change
  3. Establishes the Essential Boundary
  4. Defines Human Abiotic Interdependence
  5. Embodies Intelligence
  6. Advances Diversity
  7. Assures Well-Being, Viability and Resilience


Dense Urban Places and Collaboration

Governments tackle the complexity of urbanization on the drifting structures of accountability. Harnessing the interests of people who take actions that assure a recurring measure of certainty and security, love and family require environments that support collaboration. Measures of accountability attempt to determine the need to renew leadership. Implementation builds contracts between the structures of governance and the collective power of community action. Collaboration is how and why places matter. The benefits of collaboration are expanding rapidly.

The development and preservation of a neighborhood is an ancient practice. The physical conditions required are well developed. The social contracts guiding implementation are renewable. We know how to advance combinations of physical and social processes and with them, sustain lasting human relationships. Yet, there remains a far-reaching list of huge urban failures built on this hubris. What is missing? It is the belief in the power of small change and equally important, the ability to capture the knowledge of all of them, all at once. This is described best as the fierce urgency of now.  Nevertheless, I believe we have reasons for renewed hope.


Dense Urban Places Sustain Micro-Change

Micro change is a substance people must know and feel to achieve goals. Setting objectives creates the instruments of action. In dense urban places, goals and objectives are immediate; occur in continuous succession and produce substantial results. The achievements of multiple micro-change makers reduce the pressures inherent to adaptation. In this sense, they have strategic control. This new reality of connective governance will grow.

Imagine a neighborhood filled with demolished building sites, and abandoned places. Then witness the arrival of small groups who are planting gardens, attempting to occupy and rebuild abandoned housing and demanding accountability for the cause. The authoritative role of government in this context includes developing legitimacy for these actions as a direct means of assuring public safety that includes the preservation of rights for all concerned. Preservation efforts describe many New York City neighborhoods from 1975 to the early 1990s. Many global factors have brought investment to NYC since then, but the most important and creative are community reactions to failure. A vast range of micro-change makers exhibit the vitality of diversity through moms, dads and kids, students of many professions, artists, visionaries of all kinds and cultures imaginable.  This new reality of connective communities and cultures will grow.

Urban Density Establishes Firm Boundaries

Even though the strategies for adapting to change are mainly personal, the larger organizational demands for enabling conditions remain. The progression from individual to the group may occur in a vast expansion of urban places or the isolation of just one, but the opportunity for goodness is only evident with the assurance of survival for both. The complexity of individuals and organizations is a good thing, but due to a lack of boundary, the goodness acquired dissipates.  There needs to be a firm urban boundary.

Imagine how creative a city would have to become if it had a firm and fixed boundary within which the goal is to encourage unlimited growth. What remains of the wilderness outside of this boundary and from which humanity ascended to its present condition would stand.  Humanity must know and learn that there are many more lessons of natural diversity on offer. Each of them will be essential and prerequisite. The wild/urban duality requires full development if either is to survive with dignity.


Abiotic and Interdependent

Life emerges in environments that make intelligence possible. Change is upon new life instantly and upon its place among many others in a vast array. Whether it is the rise of the industrial revolution’s black moth or the loss of Bengal tigers in the shreds of the wild, urbanization is the chauffeur in the express lane of change. Human awareness of this includes the emergence of a global knowing, that the city is truth about being human, yet we stand in its shadows with only a vague notion of it. Nevertheless, the city links ideas and turns them into action.  It  injects a bright optimism into the shadows cast by doubters that prefer to stay alone in the wilderness of our past.

Recognition of actions in the common good occurs instantly and they are most frequent in dense urban environments. Now imagine holding this data among a group of people with great power and knowledge. Suddenly, you recognize one of the decisions by the members of this group will announce to another group – natural selection discards you. You are not selected. The horror of this is evolutionarily unknowable, but were this a real act, it destroys everything.


Dense urban systems collect the experience of the whole with great rapidity. It can sense justice and injustice instantly. The new collective nature of it leads to a pathway of action that adds balance to the human development landscape. Prefer this to the acquisition of power alone.

Urban Density Creates Intelligence

Platforms that link everyone to everyone else on every imaginable question embrace the joy of problem solving as a natural extension of human emotional experience and curiosity. The arduous and combative nature of hard science, on the other hand, can suck the oxygen out of a room and in that same moment reveal the importance of helplessness. When it comes to environmental intelligence, the rules of common sense provide balance by adding the reflections of ordinary observers. Social networks support immediate innovations that do not have the patience to await the proof of science. Platform technologies support small changes in quick succession. They build consensus for action and because of this, control discards the “big stick” of efficacy in favor of simply knowing how to make goodness recur.

Imagine the way science introduces complex questions about genetically modified organisms (GMO) or greenhouse gases (GHG). The demand from the commonplace grows loud with uncertainty regarding the injection of these things into their lives. At this point, govern the strict rules of science with rules of common sense. In this realm, the placeless structure of social networks will select physical places with the resource allocations needed to implement a vital social action, resolve an urgent economic problem or define routine political questions. The cycle of knowledge from experience to reflection is whole. This is a new form of intelligence.  It is prompt due to the connected activity of people and organizations in the dense urban place.


Urban Density Advances Diversity

Our ability to adapt our place in the world and to meet our needs depends on the structures of leadership built into our society. The expertise born of this legacy facilitates the acquisition of skills and presents them without compromise to all observers as thresholds onto pathways. The policies on how or why any of them would open as a choice to everyone have changed to favor diversity without the dissolution of differences. This idea is on a near equal footing with the legacy of privilege.  It will bond them in a powerful new way.

Imagine ways in which the history of leadership that formed the legacies of society will change to become acts of inclusion. The services required that enable accountability are those derived up from the roots of adaptation. Continuous and unrelenting investment in the social capital formation and community-based organization is a combination capable of changing the traditional practices of urban preservation and development. It will build powerful sets of helping relationships that will bring reciprocity to the urgency of thousands of teaching and learning situations that require immediate and useful action

First do no harm

Density Supports Well-Being, Viability and Resilience

We build to control, but we only control what we can make recur. The urban habitat is destructive of complex natural systems. Unlike the human habitat, natural systems operate on sunlight, recycle everything, reward cooperation and rely on diversity entirely. The human pathways to this end remain ineffective, but there is hope because the challenge to secure human well-being has never been greater.

Imagine the drive for urban resilience as the prerequisite for sustainability. The dense urban environment fully isolates natural system habitats. A new urban world can form in ways that are far more protective and respectful of the wilderness.  We will build the means to leave the wild.  By making this so, doing no harm will recur.

Summary in Fifty Words

Dense urban environments offer high levels of collaboration that support quality micro-changes within physically firm, yet flexible social boundaries. Fueled by diversity and interdependence, this forms a unique urban intelligence in the abiotic and human world of urban life, and there is just with one rule. First, do no harm.

Please forgive these explorations if you have stumbled upon them. These platforms force clarification of weak ideas.

cross link to NYC Plan 2030

DoITT Report Summary

Corporate Verizon

The findings of the report are as follows:

  1. Verizon is not in compliance with its agreement since it has not truly “passed” all residential households in New York City.

The report states, “…the argument that “passing” premises with fiber optic cable includes no requirement of any proximity to that premises is manifestly untenable. At a minimum, the term “passed” must be understood to require sufficient proximity to permit Verizon to comply, at least as a rule, with its six-month deadline to fill NSIs.”  According to the franchise agreement, Verizon can recommend “non-standard installations,” which is jargon for offering Direct TV to customers or limiting service to the use of a DSL modem.

  1. Verizon continues to show residential household addresses as “unavailable” despite claiming to have passed all residential households in the City.

The FiOS franchise agreement provides that an order for service received for a residential household after that premises is “passed” with fiber optic cable must be satisfied within six months of the order. But if the order cannot be filled within six months, Verizon must notify the resident, explain the reason for the delay, and state a new deadline not more than six additional months away for filling the order. For the first service to a building, this order is referred to in the contract as a “non-standard installation.”

The following findings charge Verizon with avoiding customer requests by “cooking the data,” resisting demands for data, and attempting to cover it up during the City’s audit.

  1. Verizon does not complete all non-standard installation service requests within the six-month and twelve-month deadlines required by Section 5.4.2 of the franchise agreement.
  2. Verizon’s procedure was to not accept and log a request for cable service at premises that Verizon had not “passed,” a violation of Section 2.5 of Appendix A of the franchise agreement.
  3. Verizon did not consistently record an NSI with “yes” or “no” indicators and left some NSI indicators blank. Verizon did not communicate to prospective customers when service would be available for the non-standard installation and did not consistently treat inquiries.
  4. Verizon does not communicate accurately and effectively with prospective customers.
  5. Verizon failed to cooperate fully and timely with DoITT’s audit to violate Section 11.1 of the franchise agreement.
  6. Verizon’s complaint process focuses only on paying subscribers, and Verizon generally does not accept complaints or inquiries from prospective customers.
  7. Anecdotal evidence shows that Verizon, in some instances, does not provide timely service unless the management company enters into a bulk agreement for the building.
  8. Verizon does not maintain a manual of procedures.
  9. Data integrity issues exist within Verizon’s database.

Call to Action

The approximate FiOS footprint in four of NYC’s 5 boroughs as of June 30, 2014 (via the Broadband Map) Brooklyn and the AKNA area is highlighted (right)

A letter to our representatives in the City Council and U.S. Congress is being prepared. It will call their attention to this website resource and cover the following points.

Your comments and suggestions are requested on the following. Besides, AKNA members are asked to share any contact they may have enjoyed with Yvette Clark or Mathiew Eugene’s replacement next year or so.

AKNA is in the Ninth Congressional District (top left).  This District is ranked fiftieth in the nation, and it is the lowest ranking district in New York City for access to quality broadband services.

Yvette Clark’s position on “net neutrality” was right on the mark at the beginning of the year.  The security of our district regarding people to people communication was the key issue her office presented.  The right words are not enough.

AKNA is in the Fortieth City Council District (middle left) and shares in the poor ranking dilemma of Brooklyn’s access to quality and security.  Councilmember Eugene’s primary focus on young people is greatly admired, as no group in New York City needs these services more greatly.

Actions aimed at Verizon by our representatives are needed.  A thoughtful and coordinated approach toward the behemoth Verizon is needed to fully understand the dynamic between the NYC government, its agencies such as DoITT, and NYS and Federal policies on this question.  All confront the ability of the FCC to encourage and require compliance.

The value of tax rebates to the providers (Verizon in our case) on the cost of infrastructure “deliverables” will be measured by the FCC’s new requirements for higher speed delivery to customers. The question AKNA’s media advocates and political representatives must ask is this:

If the ISPs do not get their speeds to FCC state and city standards will they still get all their lucrative tax credits and related incentives?

No doubt Verizon and their subsidiaries such as Earthlink will continue to sell DSL modems and service, but…Verizon will violate consumer laws and regulations if they call it “broadband” and attempt to use DSL’s lower speeds and quality as an excuse for not deploying broadband to all Americans in a timely way and compliance with “net neutrality.”

The New York City Council’s response to the Mayor’s FY 2015 Budget and 2014 Report said, “Last year, Verizon agreed to pay the City $50 million because of delays in projects associated with the Emergency Communications Transformation Project, the large scale effort to transform and consolidate the City’s 911 Emergency Dispatch System.”

The potential of an injurious relationship between Verizon and New York City’s residents’ needs concerns us greatly. The $50M fine and the June 2015 DoITT report suggest a critical review of this relationship is needed. It seems that instead of moving forward, Verizon has decided that New York City needs to be punished for demanding accountability.

The FCC main point in the 2015 Broadband Progress Report follows:

“Reflecting advances in technology, market offerings by broadband providers and consumer demand, the FCC updated its broadband benchmark speeds to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.”

The 4 Mbps/1 Mbps standard set in 2010 was deemed inadequate for evaluating whether advanced broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way.  DSL services to 4 million of AT&T’s 16 million broadband subscribers and 2.6 million of Verizon’s 9.2 million subscribers will not meet this new standard. AT&T’s fastest DSL offerings only reach 6 Mbps down, while Verizon’s DSL speeds top out at <10 Mbps, and a Verizon spokesperson speaking to Ars Technica said, “We currently do not have any plans to enhance that.[DSL].”

Wired and Wireless

The language of telecommunications takes some getting used to, so here is a brief summary of the basics.

Line Technologies are:


Fiber to the Premise
(FTTP) is the “Gold Standard” in broadband technology. FTTP is the most expensive to deploy, but can deliver consistently high speeds reaching 1 Gigabit (1,000 Mbps) and higher.

The companies can “data cap’ you for wireless, meaning go over = pay more. Fiber is a fixed monthly fee for service and competitive via ISP providers.

Cable Modem uses coaxial cable connection to deliver broadband with download speeds ranging from 6 Megabits (Mbps) to over 50 Mbps. Bandwidth is managed through shared connections. Therefore, although broadband is widely available throughout New York State, advertised speeds may not always be maintained during peak usage times.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) uses copper telephone lines to deliver broadband with download speeds generally fewer than 10 Mbps. Aging networks can degrade service over time, which can decrease speeds delivered to the home.

Note; Many people will connect their DSL into a Router (NetGear/Linksys, etc.) and then use its the router’s wireless transmission in their homes to connect to growing list of ‘smart home’ devices such telephones, computers, TVs, DVD players, game consoles, security systems, home/pet watch cams, heating and ventilation systems, even cooking and cleaning equipment.

Broadband Over Power Lines (BPL) uses existing electric wiring along with fiber to deliver broadband through electric outlets. Requires special equipment installed at the home with limited availability in New York State.  Not to be confused with in-home power line devises that use the wires in your home for the same purpose.

Wireless Technologies are:

Fixed Wireless/ WiMax uses a combination of a fiber backbone and wireless towers to deliver broadband at speeds comparable to DSL. It is quickly deployed at lower costs with a wide reach. Many plans have data usage caps.

Mobile Broadband is a combination of cellular and data service generally for use on mobile devices. Typically complements wireline connections, but some companies provide home broadband service delivered over mobile broadband networks. Many plans have caps that limit usage.

Satellite is a two-way transmission of Internet data passed between satellite and a dish placed at the home. Because data traverses long distances, latency delays can occur. Most plans have data caps, but satellite broadband is 100% available in New York State.

White Space is an emerging technology that uses the empty fragments of TV spectrum scattered between frequencies. It is less expensive to deploy in areas without major infrastructure, with the ability to travel through physical obstacles, such as trees and mountains, without diminished signal. The FCC requires networks to follow strict requirements not to interfere with existing broadcasts.