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Cox Accuses Verizon of Plant Damage

Cox Communications Inc. claimed that Verizon Communications Inc. damaged its underground fiber-optic cables in northern Virginia, then covered up the cuts with black electrical tape, AP reported.

“Cox personnel have uncovered and, in one instance, actually observed 'repairs' done by Verizon that consisted of wrapping tape around a Cox line damaged by the (sic) Verizon and then reburying the line," AP reported, citing a complaint filed last month with the State Corporation Commission.

"Cox welcomes competition but believes Verizon is improperly using its authority as a telephone company to bypass regulation and oversight associated with its construction project," Cox said in the complaint, according to AP.

The MSO claimed that there have been about 500 incidents, leading to some $254,000 in damage to its underground network. Cox spokesman Alex Horwitz told AP the possible loss of telephone service caused by the cuts jeopardizes crucial communications such as emergency 911 service.

Verizon spokeswoman Christy Reap told AP the company already is working with Cox to address the underground-damage issue, and it will formally respond to the complaint with the commission, adding, “The bottom line is that we take every precaution to avoid hits on other companies' facilities.”