Rural N.J. community makes plea for Verizon to improve copper landline service

While most telecommunications customers want faster high-speed Internet service and better wireless connections, residents of rural Hopewell Township, N.J., would be happy if their landlines worked. And they've appealed to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to make Verizon (NYSE: VZ) do something about it.

The township sent a summary report to the BPU citing 156 "serious" and "chronic" telephone service complaints related to Verizon's copper landlines in Hopewell. The complaints were compiled in the last three months, according to a report.

"Keep in mind, 156 complaints equates to 400 to 500 residents that have been hurt by Verizon's failure to provide reliable telephone service," Committeeman Greg Facemeyer told the news site. "We are asking the BPU to hold Verizon accountable and protect our senior citizens, students, farmers and businesses."

Township solicitor Ted Ritter said in the letter that Verizon should be ordered to replace old copper wire infrastructure and "submit an acceptable maintenance plan to meet further deterioration of its outdated landline infrastructure."

Weather-related service disruptions dominated residential complaints, along with buzzing and constant static on the lines.

A BPU spokesman declined to comment on the letter and a call and e-mail to another BPU official was not returned, the news site said.

Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski also declined to discuss the letter but told the news site that "Greg Facemeyer has never brought the complaints to our attention before."

For more:
- has this story

Related articles:
Federal, state regulators probe Verizon service issues in D.C. and N.J.
Rural South Jersey communities: Verizon reneging on FiOS promise
New Jersey regulators: Verizon can use DSL, wireless to deliver broadband to rural areas