9 months into a new two year Fios Triple Play Agreement I see a new line item under Taxes and Fees:
"FRANCHISE RELATED COST $1.80"
The charge is defined as:
Franchise Related Cost: A Local Franchise Authority may impose a finacncial obligation on Verizon to support educational and government programming channels in your area. Depending on the Local agreement the fees is based on one of 3 methods;
1. Percent of Fios Revenue in your local area.
2. A per subscriber amount (fixed)
3. A Lump sum (?)
I made several calls to Verizon to ask 2 questions:
1. Who is my Local Franchise Authority?
2. What method is used to determine the FRANCHISE RELATED COST of $1.80?
I was told to call my New York state Public Service Commission (NY PSC).
NY PSC told me that New York state does not charge Verizon any local franchise fees or costs for the reason that Verizon has stated. If there are any it would be done by the town government that I live in. And they opened a case against Verizon for not giving a reasonable explanation.
I called my local Town, Amherst NY, and at this moment they told me there is no new fees being charged to Verizon.
I keep telling Verizon that NY state and my local town have not imposed any new financial obligations on Verizon that would result in a new fee. All they do is keep repeating the definition of "FRANCHISE RELATED COST". Verizon representatives want to focus on "... to support local educational and government programming..." When I ask them to back up to the first statement of the definition: "A local Franchise Authority may impose..." Who is the local Franchise Authority that has imposed the fee? Verizon today told me to look it up myself, that Verizon does not have to tell me anything except what has already been provided.
It's pretty clear that I am getting charged an increase by Verizon, and that increase is not going to any governmental agency outside of Verizon. I told each Verizon representative that Verizon themselves are the "Local Franchise Authority" under their definition. They are disguising a rate increase as a "Tax or Fee" to get around my 2 year "locked in" service price. I have repeated that assertion to 4 Verizon phone representatives including Manager Leslie, and not one of them denied my assertion. "We can do it, becuase Fios service is not regulated"
This happened once before on a previous 2 year contract. I persisted with complaining, and making calls to NY State PSC, Town of Amherst representatives, and then Verizon finally took the fee off my bill and gave me credit for the one I had paid. Looks like they are testing the waters again.
The funny part is Verizon Fiber is at present “not regulated” they were supposed to hammer out just what they can and cannot do via talks with the NYS Department of Financial Services (Public Service Commission) however they (Verizon) are stalling as per the young lady that spoke to me.
now there are no taxes on Internet only service. Oh they added a bogus fee of $2.49 to move telephone poles which was denied on existing copper lines but is unregulated on fiber optics.
drop tv and phone and go internet only. Or site it as a material change to your contract that you will not accept since they will not provide proof of the taxes.
you then can go to any service you wish. I would let the PSC go after them. They have power to levy fines and assorted gotchas on them.