Asbury Park Press

Verizon Voice Link Opposed By NJ Consumer Groups

Asbury Park Press — Thursday, March 20, 2014

Written by
David P. Willis

A coalition of consumer groups have started a campaign against Verizon New Jersey and Voice Link, a wireless telephone alternative used in Mantoloking after the telephone company's network was destroyed by Sandy.

The group, called Don't Hang Up on New Jersey, has started a petition drive. It demands that "telecommunications giants, like Verizon, immediately stop forcing customers off traditional copper line phone service and onto a substandard, unregulated wireless product called Voice Link."

Verizon spokesman Lee J. Gierczynski said Voice Link is an optional voice-only service. "The claim that Verizon is using Voice Link to replace its copper network is completely off base," Gierczynski said. "Nobody is forced to take it."

Superstorm Sandy destroyed Verizon's network of copper telephone lines and switch equipment in Mantoloking. Rather than rebuild the copper, Verizon made a decision to offer Mantoloking residents Verizon Voice Link, which connects the wired and cordless telephones in the house to the Verizon Wireless network. It has limitations, as it cannot be used with medical monitoring or security systems.

In a prepared statement Tuesday, the group, which includes AARP New Jersey and New Jersey Citizen Action, accused Verizon of cutting copper service lines and forcing customers onto wireless alternatives rather than repairing the cables.

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