Military news site Military.com says Verizon stuck it with the bill for repairing the Pentagon’s damaged and outdated internet wiring. Verizon recently received $1 billion in contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense to maintain communications services for the building and at other military installations in and around Washington D.C.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Military.com Managing Editor Zachary Fryer Biggs shared his outlet’s experience dealing with Verizon’s Pentagon internet repair service.
“So let me tell you a little story about how @Verizon – the company that just got $1 billion to supply communications services at the Pentagon – is asking our newsroom to pay to fix wiring owned by the DoD. (Thread),” Biggs began. “We, like a lot of news orgs that have a desk at the Pentagon, have no choice but to pay Verizon for really really crappy (I mean low grade DSL) internet. It’s terrible, but it’s the only option, and we obviously need to have internet for our reporters.”
Biggs explained that last year, the internet at the Pentagon’s press bullpen stopped functioning.
Biggs said a member of Military.com’s news team had to sit through a service call with the telecommunications company, to confirm that the problem was not with their equipment, but rather the press bullpen’s internet equipment.
Biggs explained that after a four-hour period spanning four different calls with Verizon, the telecommunications company finally determined the issues with the internet were a result of water in the wires.
“What was the issue according to the Verizon tech? THERE WAS WATER IN THE WIRES. Water,” Biggs tweeted. “I don’t know how that happened, but after [they] replaced several sections of line they finally got it fixed. Internet now works again, super slow.”
After restoring their internet service from entirely non-functional to “super slow,” Biggs said Verizon stuck Military.com with a $285 repair bill about a year after the repair.
Biggs noted repeatedly throughout the Twitter thread that Verizon has received nearly $1 billion in new contracts to maintain the communications equipment for the Pentagon. Indeed, last month the company announced it had won a trio of contracts from the DoD, worth $966.5 million to maintain communications for the Pentagon, the DoD National Capital Region (NCR) and Fort Belvoir.
Despite the DoD contracts for Verizon to maintain its internet, Biggs said Military.com is still stuck with the $285 repair bill.
“These are DoD lines, you know the ones that Verizon is already getting paid $1 billion to keep running. So them whether we should send the bill to the Pentagon, let them pay for it,” Biggs tweeted. “The phone rep instead asked me if I wanted to add an insurance plan to our contract. They want us to pay an extra $11 a month to cover service for phone lines we don’t own, and for which they’re already getting paid millions upon millions of dollars to maintain. We’re not paying that. So I guess we’re stuck with the $285 bill. We don’t have a choice.”
“Let me conclude this diatribe by saying, @Verizon having functional news coverage of the military is a basic fundamental need of democracy,” Biggs tweeted. “We pay our bill. You get paid millions by the Pentagon. Squeezing a news org so you get paid twice is not just callous, it’s a bit evil.”