Wants CPUC to Ignore Crucial Evidence
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, San Francisco–In a supplement to a motion originally filed at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on March 17, TURN is demanding that the Commission review crucial evidence supplied by an anonymous Verizon whistleblower. TURN has notified Verizon of its desire to bring the evidence before the CPUC, but Verizon’s initial response was that it contains legally protected trade secrets.
The evidence is an internal Verizon document that describes policies and procedures highly relevant to TURN’s request for emergency relief for customers who had problems with their phone service and called Verizon for repair. Instead of fixing the phone lines, Verizon “migrated” customers to a fiber-based, mostly deregulated VoIP service, in some cases without their knowledge or consent, and refused to fix the phone lines. TURN believes the document raises significant issues of public concern, which may be why it was mailed to TURN’s office without a return address.
TURN today filed the document under seal, so that the CPUC can make a determination as to whether or not it is truly confidential and proprietary information. If the Commission finds that the document is confidential, then it may only be made available to parties that have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Verizon. On the other hand, the Commission could declare the document not to be confidential and hence available to the public.
TURN’s original motion requests that the Commission order Verizon to repair the service of copper-based landline telephone customers who have requested repair or wish to retain the copper services they were cut off from. On March 18, 2014, one day after the motion was filed, members of the Communications Workers of America complained to the state Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Commerce Committee that they were being instructed to push customers onto fiber based services, even if the customer expressed preference for more reliable copper-based phone service that is regulated and works during long power outages.