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Verizon can’t get it together and New York City is tired of waiting

(NEWS) New York City is taking action against Verizon in fears that the communications company is reneging on a deal made during the previous mayor’s tenure.

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Real eyes, realize, real lies

In 2008, in an agreement with the city of New York, Verizon pledged availing high-speed FiOS service by “passing” their fiber optics cables near each and every household of New York City.

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On Monday, the city sued Verizon for failing to keep that pledge.

Concrete jungle where there’s no internet

Mayor de Blasio said in a statement, that Verizon has failed 8.5 million New Yorkers by not completing its pledge of installing “its fiber-optic FiOS service by 2014. It’s 2017 and we’re done waiting.”

In the complaint filed with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the City alleges that “tens of thousands” of prospective customers have not been served in direct default of the 2008 agreement.

It also accuses the Internet service provider of refusing to accept service requests from citizens without FiOS coverage.

They should have seen it coming

This is not a sudden move.

For at least two years, the City has been trying to negotiate with Verizon to deliver on its promised obligations.

The city warned the company two years back when an audit report by its Department of Information Technology and Communications (DoITT) found Verizon was refusing fast service to many households despite being within the agreed-upon area (i.e. within the five boroughs).

Between a rock and hard place

The hope was to avoid a messy litigation. But the two sides were increasingly at odds as Verizon steadfastly refused the City’s interpretation of the 2008 agreement.

Last winter the two sides reached an impasse, and the courts were the only step forward for the City.

“No corporation — no matter how large or powerful — can break a promise to New Yorkers and get away with it,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Loopholes

Verizon claims it has met its obligation of running fiber optics past every city home, like the agreement stipulates.

City residents are within seven to 14 days of receiving service, the company states.

The contract never obligated Verizon, the company states, to actually provide connection to every household and apartment building.

The blame shift

In a letter to the City, Verizon stressed the impracticality of the City’s demand. “Digging up City streets and sidewalks on the scale that you are demanding would cause enormous and unnecessary disruptions to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and would impose immeasurable inconvenience and hardship on countless residents and businesses”, the company argued.

The communications company seems to acknowledge the complaints of NYC residents for not receiving fast speed Internet and television services.

The fault, Verizon says, lies entirely with the landlords who refuse to let Verizon run cables through its premises.

He said, he said

Raymond McConville, a Verizon spokesman said, “”Mayor de Blasio should read our agreement”, adding, “We have lived up to our obligation 100%.”

“The de Blasio administration is disingenuously attempting to rewrite the terms of an agreement made with its predecessor (Michael Bloomberg) and is acting in its own political self-interests that are completely at odds with what’s best for New Yorkers,” Verizon said in a statement. “We plan to vigorously fight the city’s allegations.”

Hurry up and wait

Independent analysts praised the City officials for pursuing Verizon to make good on their promise. They reject Verizon’s claim of delivering on the contract.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, a good-government advocacy group said, “People continue to be very frustrated because it appears that Verizon is motivated by what will be most profitable for them — what buildings to wire and what buildings to ignore.”

While the courts will decide, who will ultimately win, for now, more than 1 million of New York residents would have to do without fast internet.

#InternetInDemand

Barnil is a Staff Writer at The American Genius. With a Master's Degree in International Relations, Barnil is a Research Assistant at UT, Austin. When he hikes, he falls. When he swims, he sinks. When he drives, others honk. But when he writes, people read.

Business News

Everyone should have an interview escape plan

(BUSINESS NEWS) A job interview should be a place to ask about qualifications but it seems more people are asked about their personal life. How do you escape this problem?

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interview from hell

“So, why did you move from Utah to Austin?” the interviewer asked over the phone.

The question felt a little out of place in the job interview, but I gave my standard answer about wanting a fresh scene. I’d just graduated college and was looking to break into the Austin market. But the interviewer wasn’t done.

“But why Austin?” he insisted, “There can’t be that many Mormons here.”

My stomach curled. This was a job interview – I’d expected to discuss my qualifications for the position and express my interest in the company. Instead, I began to answer more and more invasive questions about my personal life and religion. The whole ordeal left me very uncomfortable, but because I was young and desperate, I put up with it. In fact, I even went back for a second interview!

At the time, I thought I had to put up with that sort of treatment. Only recently have I realized that the interview was extremely unprofessional and it wasn’t something I should have felt obligated to endure.

And I’m not the only one with a bad interview story. Slate ran an article sharing others’ terrible experiences, which ranged from having their purse inspected to being trapped in a 45 minute presentation! No doubt, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mistreatment by potential employers.

So, why do we put up with it?

Well, sometimes people just don’t know better. Maybe, like I was, they’re young or inexperienced. In these cases, these sorts of situations seem like they could just be the norm. There’s also the obvious power dynamic: you might need a job, but the potential employers probably don’t need you.

While there might be times you have to grit your teeth and bear it, it’s also worth remembering that a bad interview scenario often means bad working conditions later on down the line. After all, if your employers don’t respect you during the interview stage, it’s likely the disrespect will continue when you’re hired.

Once you’ve identified an interview is bad news, though, how do you walk out? Politely. As tempting as it is to make a scene, you probably don’t want to go burning bridges. Instead, excuse yourself by thanking your interviewers, wishing them well and asserting that you have realized the business wouldn’t be a good fit.

Your time, as well as your comfort, are important! If your gut is telling you something is wrong, it probably is. It isn’t easy, but if a job interview is crossing the line, you’re well within your rights to leave. Better to cut your losses early.

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Business News

Walmart delays the launch of its Amazon Prime competing service

(BUSINESS NEWS) Walmart+ is being delayed once again, but the service has yet to be cancelled. Will it be another flop?

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Walmart+ Amazon

Walmart+, the supposed Amazon Prime alternative of the century, has been delayed from launching until further notice. This marks the second delay of the year.

Vox reports that the Amazon Prime competitor was initially supposed to launch in the first quarter of 2020, but Walmart pushed the release back to July due to Coronavirus concerns. Now, Walmart+ doesn’t have a definitive launch date–indecision that’s easy to chalk up to both the ongoing pandemic and trepidation regarding profitability in an Amazon-dominated world.

Amazon Prime, a service which runs customers $119 per year, has well over 100 million members in the United States; that works out to at least one member in a little over 80 percent of households here. Between its ubiquitous nature and the fact that Amazon Prime members are more inclined to use Amazon frequently than non-Prime members, it isn’t hard to see why a premium Walmart subscription seems a little redundant.

But Walmart doesn’t see it that way. “Walmart executives have hoped the program would strike a balance of being valuable enough that customers will pay for it, while boasting different enough perks from Amazon Prime so that there aren’t perk-by-perk comparisons,” Vox posits. At $98 per year, Walmart+ would include things like same-day delivery, gas discounts, line-skipping, a dedicated credit card, and potentially even a video streaming service.

While there are some clear parallels between Amazon Prime and Walmart+, one can attribute those to convenience rather than imitation. People seem to enjoy having extra streaming options as a perk of Prime, so for Walmart+ to include something similar wouldn’t exactly be inappropriate.

The largest obstacle to Walmart+’s success in a post-Coronavirus world probably won’t have much to do with brand loyalty, but the fact remains that Amazon’s value is so far above and beyond Walmart’s that people who regularly use Amazon Prime aren’t likely to make the switch–and, as mentioned previously, the sheer number of people who have a Prime membership is high enough to be concerning to Walmart executives.

However, for customers who frequently shop at Walmart or live in relatively rural areas, Walmart+ doesn’t seem like a bad gig. It isn’t Amazon Prime, to be sure–but that’s the point.

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Business News

What COVID-19 measures do workplaces have to take to reopen?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employers can’t usually do medical screenings – but it’s a little different during a pandemic.

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COVID-19 temp gun

Employers bringing personnel back to work are faced with the challenge of protecting their workforce from COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have issued guidelines on how to do so safely and legally.

Employee health and examinations are usually a matter of personal privacy by design through the American’s with Disabilities Act. However, after the World Health Organization declaration of the coronavirus as a pandemic in March, the U.S. EEOC revised its guidance to allow employers to screen for possible infections in order to protect employees.

Employers are now allowed to conduct temperature screenings and check for symptoms of the coronavirus. They can also exclude from the workplace those they suspect of having symptoms. The recommendations from the CDC also include mandatory masks, distant desks, and closing common areas. As the pandemic and US response evolves, it is important for employers to continue to monitor any changes in guidance from these agencies.

Employers are encouraged to have consistent thresholds for symptoms and temperature requirements and communicate those with transparency. Though guidance suggests that COVID-19 screenings at work are allowed by law, employers should be mindful of the way they are conducted and the impact it may have on employer-employee relations.

Stanford Health Care is taking a bold approach by performing COVID-19 testing on each of its 14,000 employees that have any patient contact. They implemented temperature scanning stations at each entrance, operated by nurses and clinicians. The President and CEO of Sanford Health Care said, “For our patients to trust the clinical procedures and trials, it was important for them to know that we were safe.”

Technology is adapting to meet the needs of employers and identify symptoms of COVID-19. Contactless thermometers that can check the temperature of up to 1,500 people per hour using thermal imaging technology are now on the market; they show an error margin of less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. COVID-19 screening is being integrated into some company time-clocks used by employees at the start and end of each shift. The clocks are being equipped with a way to record employee temperatures and answers to a health questionnaire. Apple and Google even collaborated to bring contact tracing to smart phones which could help contain potential outbreaks.

Fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing are the three most common symptoms of COVID-19. Transmission is still possible from a person who is asymptomatic, but taking the precautions to identify these symptoms can help minimize workplace spread. This guidance may change in the future as the pandemic evolves, but for now, temperature checks are a part of back to work for many.

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