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ULTRA UNRELIABLE: How a bad deal with Verizon has cost San Diegans, three years later

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A new report from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) analyzing San Diego’s 2019 5G public-private partnership with Verizon found evidence suggesting that over the course of the ten year partnership the public is likely to provide more than $1 million in subsidies to Verizon. Three years into the deal, the City of San Diego has been unable to produce records showing the value of any Verizon-provided community benefit. Additionally, there is no evidence that Verizon’s network is making meaningful progress toward closing San Diego’s digital divide, and the deal continues to lack any support for local workers in the hiring process or any requirement that Verizon or its contractors pay family-supporting wages and benefits.

The report provides three recommendations to address the partnership’s shortcomings and ensure that San Diegans are made whole moving forward:

  1. The City should conduct a review of the deal to answer crucial outstanding questions about contractual obligations, as well as questions around network deployment priorities, with a focus on whether deployments have taken place in underserved neighborhoods, and if local workers were hired for the work.
  2. The City should use the findings of the review to determine the City’s fiscal position and prepare for contractually required Right to True-Up negotiations with Verizon, set to begin January 2023.
  3. The City should establish an ongoing monitoring process that allows for public input to hold Verizon accountable for the remainder of the deal term through 2029. Further, the City should consider what measures it can take to ensure that future administrations are not able to engage in these kinds of irresponsible corporate deals at the cost of San Diego taxpayers.