No Second Class Services at the Jersey Shore

Posted on 07/31/2013 by | AARP New Jersey | Comments

AARP Calls on Christie Administration to Investigate Verizon’s Plan to Abandon High Quality, Landline Phone Service at the NJ Shore and Replace it with Voice Link

 

PRINCETON: AARP has filed a formal request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to investigate Verizon’s plan to offer its new wireless Voice Link service instead of its traditional landline service in Mantoloking, NJ and possibly other parts of the state. On behalf of approximately 1.3 million members in the state of New Jersey, AARP is urging the BPU to evaluate the prudency of Verizon’s plans and to afford consumers, small businesses, and other stakeholders an opportunity to comment on this significant market change.

“The New Jersey coast has been battered enough. The last thing we need is second class phone service at the shore,” said Douglas Johnston, AARP New Jersey Manager of Advocacy. “We are concerned that approval of Verizon’s plans could further the gap between the telecommunications “haves” and “have-nots” and also could create an incentive for Verizon to neglect the maintenance and repair of its landline phone network in New Jersey,” Johnston added.

In its filing, AARP calls on the BPU to investigate Voice Link in order to develop a complete record of facts and to afford stakeholders, including landline customers, an opportunity to explore Voice Link more fully. While AARP welcomes new technology, we do so only if the new technology is a step forward for consumers. AARP is further calling on the BPU to unambiguously direct Verizon to limit its deployment of Voice Link to Mantoloking temporarily, pending a complete investigation of the Voice Link service.

Voice Link is incompatible with consumers’ medical devices. Security systems do not function with Voice Link. Consumers’ safety and well-being depend on a reliable telephone service. When residents encounter medical emergencies, extreme weather, terrorist threats or other emergencies, consumers turn to their telephones to reach help. Older adults with mobility impairment are among those who depend most critically on a reliable phone connection. The ability to reach emergency services reliably can be a matter of life or death. Voice Link threatens that connection.

“Voice Link is not an adequate substitute for Verizon’s traditional landline phone service, and we are calling on the Christie Administration to protect consumers and protect the shore,” said Johnston.

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