Verizon Complains Cable Operators Slowing Switch to Fios

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Verizon, in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission Monday, accused cable operators of not meeting FCC standards when customers request to transfer their telephone numbers from cable-provided VoIP (voice over IP) service to Verizon service.

The FCC has required local number portability between wireline carriers since 1997, and typically requires that the port be completed within three business days.

Competing providers met a 24-hour deadline to respond to a telephone number transfer request just 40 percent of the time between last March and September, Verizon said in its FCC filing. Cable companies have routinely ignored the FCC deadlines, Verizon said.

The problem is a "broad" one not limited to a few cable operators, said David Fish, a Verizon spokesman. "We've heard from customers and know that it's a wide-ranging problem," he said.

In addition, Verizon filed a second complaint Wednesday, saying cable companies were not allowing competing providers to file disconnect notices for consumers. This creates "extra work and confusion" for customers, Verizon said in a statement.

The FCC allows a customer's new telephone company to file a disconnect notice with the current provider, but not when a customer is switching television providers, Verizon said.

Switching video providers is "cumbersome," Verizon said in its filing. "Cable incumbents ... require the customer to contact them directly to cancel service after choosing a new video provider and to return any equipment. This significantly complicates the process of switching video providers for the customer, thereby entrenching the cable incumbents' dominant market position."

Verizon offers its own package of voice, Internet and television services under its Fios brand, in competition with many cable operators offering the same package of services.

A spokeswoman for Comcast, the largest cable operator in the U.S., wasn't immediately available to comment on the Verizon complaints.

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