Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Verizon's Fiber to the Rockville Premises

Will it take individual citizens to move the government to action? If so, let the following letter, quoted in its entirety, be the first of many to come.

I found it posted to a forum at dslreports. The letter was written by a Rockville resident and sent on Feb 13 '06 to Doug Breisch (City of Rockville DTS), County Executive Doug Duncan, the entire Montgomery County council, and the Verizon representative in charge of government affairs.

Subject: Verizon's Fiber to the Premise

To All Whom It May Concern:

In Rockville's April 2005 newsletter, the city indicated that they will not issue the permits necessary for Verizon to upgrade their facilities, because they feel an additional franchise is necessary. However in June, a New York State court ruled that Verizon does not need an additional franchise for this type of upgrade. I realize that Maryland is not bound by the New York decision, but the logic from that decision directly applies to the situation in Rockville. I suspect Verizon could win a lawsuit in Maryland if they chose to fight Rockville's decision, but I doubt they want to incur the legal expenses. As far as I know, no other jurisdiction in the county, the state, or the country, has taken the same stance as the City of Rockville regarding Verizon's upgrade.

Rockville's decision to deny permits affects many people in the county even those who do not reside within the city limits. For example, Randolph Hills is not in the city limits. The Verizon office on Montrose Road, which serves Randolph Hills, is not within the city limits. But since the Montrose Road office also serves areas within city limits, residents of Randolph Hills cannot be upgraded. I do not vote for the officials in the City of Rockville, yet their decision on this matter is preventing me from an upgrade that would reduce my costs several hundred dollars per month.

Nearly a year has passed since Rockville decided to deny permits for Verizon's upgrade, yet no progress has been made to reach an agreement. As far as I know, the county has not taken any steps to intervene.

At a Long Branch Town Hall meeting, I asked Councilmember George Leventhal about progress with television franchise negotiations. He wasn't aware of any. I wrote to my Councilmember, Howard Denis, asking if any progress has been made. He did not reply. I wrote to County Executive Doug Duncan asking who is in charge of negotiations. He did not reply. This issue is too important to be ignored!

This past November, the FCC announced that they are reconsidering the rules governing our communications policy, citing the unreasonableness of some local jurisdictions. Normally, I would be in favor of local control. However, the situation in Rockville provides a perfect argument in favor of removing local control.

The FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is here:

Rockville's April 2005 newsletter is here:

The State of New York's decision is here:

I sincerely hope that all of you will work together so that Verizon's fiber to the premise project can proceed as quickly as possible. If you don't, we can (and should) expect federal intervention, and/or state control.

J* T*
{address + phone}

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