[OPINION] Verizon Needs To Meet Its Legal Obligation To Consumers

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by Ravindra Kumar

Despite the rhetoric, Verizon’s decision to not fix landline phone services to some areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy is not about providing something better to consumers. This is about maintaining affordable choices for consumers, not a he-said-she-said debate about technological capabilities.

Verizon is required by law to maintain basic, low cost telephone service. The legislature and BPU have not released them from that obligation. The company cannot decide for itself and customers to ignore the law and regulatory authority.

They say they give their customers choices but they refuse to fix and/or reinstall damaged landlines. They cut the cord and tell customers they have other choices but really they only offer one choice and its benefits are debatable. That is not “offering choices.”

The claim that Voice Link is more reliable in a storm is debatable. In some cases that may be correct but in plenty of other confirmed cases where power was out for days, landline phone service has proven time and again to be dependable. Cell phone batteries die if they can’t be recharged. It is that simple.

AARP wants to protect affordable choices for reliable phone service. That is why AARP asked the Board of Public Utilities to investigate.

Kumar is an AARP volunteer from Kendall Park.

Editor’s Note:┬áPaul Sullivan, region president for Verizon New Jersey, has submitted his own letter in response.

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