by Ken Lindhorst
The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) was established to ensure safe, adequate, and reliable utility services at reasonable rates for customers in New Jersey. This includes basic telecommunications services.
Superstorm Sandy and September 11, 2001 showed how important it is to maintain a resilient communications system in our society. But, the BPU is neglecting to address Verizon’s actions, especially for residents who depend on landline telephones as a vital means of communication.
In many areas of New Jersey, Verizon is refusing to construct and maintain its regulated network for landline phone services at the expense of consumers—and at the expense of a resilient communications system. AARP maintains that this would be detrimental to consumers.
And the BPU is standing on the sidelines and watching as Verizon forces consumers to choose between degraded landline service Verizon won’t repair or a less reliable unregulated wireless phone replacement that doesn’t work with home security systems and medical alert systems. Consumers would be stuck paying more to get comparable services.
Verizon is attempting to cut its responsibilities to maximize profits while consumers are being stuck with unsafe, inadequate and unreliable service while Verizon ignores its legal responsibility to maintaining its regulated network and to provide basic regulated service.
Ken Lindhorst of Summit, is the chief utilities advocate for AARP New Jersey.
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