Verizon gets N.Y. PUC permission to complete copper-to-fiber transition on Fire Island

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Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has taken another step in transitioning its copper network to all-fiber in western Fire Island, New York, as the state's Public Service Commission (PUC) said it recommended closing its review of the telco's plans.

Michael Rowley, the PUC's chief of utility operations, told the Daily Freeman News that Verizon has made necessary upgrades to its wireline-based telephone service. Initially, the telco was offering its wireless-based Voice Link product as a voice replacement on Fire Island, which caused a number of concerns for residents and consumer advocates.

"Verizon's decision to not rebuild the landline network raised many concerns," Rowley said. "The proceeding generated over 1,700 public comments from Fire Island residents as well as interested parties from across the state and elected officials."

In May 2013, Verizon got permission to use Voice Link as Fire Island's voice service as a substitute telephone service where it could not replace its copper wires that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The service provider's plans immediately caused a stir from critics, including the Communication Workers of America union that said the Voice Link service could not be used for life support systems, emergency services, faxing, credit card processing or data transfers. In addition, the service relied on battery power that could run out before electricity is restored during storms.

Verizon announced that it would replace the wireline network infrastructure destroyed by Hurricane Sandy on New York's Fire Island with its Fiber to the Home (FTTH)-based FiOS service after its initial decision to not replace the wires incited outrage from residents, unions and regulators.

Rowley said the telco informed the commmission in April that the "telephone service over its completed fiber network was now generally available to all residents of western Fire Island."

For more:
Daily Freeman News has this article

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