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Verizon Strike and M5 Networks

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On Saturday night at midnight Verizon failed to renew labor contracts with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA). These two unions comprise nearly 45,000 Verizon staff throughout the Mid Atlantic and Northeast regions, including customer service representatives, cable installers/splicers and other wire line service field technicians. The stalemate between Verizon and these groups is driven by pension and health care issues with worker contracts. As a result of these issues not being resolved, a strike by the two groups has begun.

While Verizon has trained more than 40,000 managers and contractors to step into the roles of union workers, a work stoppage of this magnitude is bound to cause some delays and disruptions.

M5 works with Verizon directly and through vendors to provide our customers with voice and data services. These services include but are not limited to telephone numbers and circuits.

In speaking with our vendor partners throughout this weekend and today, all have acknowledged that service and resolution time have recently declined. We are working closely with them to monitor Verizon’s response time, provisioning speed, and field resources.

M5 is committed to doing everything we can to lessen the burden of this issue on the business owner.  Starting today, our Operations team is beginning communications with our customers to discuss potential impact. At this time there are no specifics in regards to delays, and M5 will keep our customers posted with any informational developments.

This crisis highlights a clear problem with the current state of telecommunications in the United States.  There is an oligopoly of Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) like Verizon which are too powerful.

Today, ILECs like Verizon control the copper wires that provide us with bandwidth and all of the central offices that are necessary for telephone numbers to function. While there is competition available (called CLEC’s) they have to rely on placing their equipment in Verizon’s offices in order to be able to provide service within a given geographical region.

The problem here is that when Verizon has issues like ones caused by the current strike, everyone suffers. Because Verizon is ill-staffed to handle end user and CLEC requests, the pain is felt everywhere from the home owner to the business owner. The only way to break this dependency is to open competition and force the ILECs to win their business on merit rather than continue to leverage their advantage enjoyed by years of monopoly.

We all hope this stalemate is resolved quickly but until then M5 will continue to be the reliable and honest group of experts that manage your high end phone system, so that you can focus on running your business.