Verizon claims 38% drop in wireline complaints in NJ township

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is refuting charges made by local officials that it has turned its back on Hopewell Township, N.J.'s copper-based network while not providing its next-gen fiber-based FiOS service.

In a letter sent to New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities earlier this month, Hopewell Township officials cited 156 "serious" and "chronic" telephone service complaints related to Verizon's copper landline network.

According to an report, some of the complaints included line noise, static, crackling, buzzing, and intermittent service outages during bad weather events.

Verizon said in a response letter to the BPU citing the service provider's investment in the township's wireline network and data that it says refutes Hopewell officials' claims.

"Hopewell residents reported significantly fewer landline service issues to Verizon in 2014 than in 2012, representing a 38-percent decrease in the number of trouble tickets over that period," wrote Gregory M. Romano, general counsel for Verizon's mid-Atlantic region.

The service provider said that it did its own "thorough analysis of the 156 customer complaints" and conducted "targeted infrastructure work" between 2012 and 2014 to improve Hopewell's wireline service.

Verizon's latest letter sounded similar to statements it made in 2012 when the telco faced similar claims with Greenwich and Stow Creek—two towns that border Hopewell Township—over improving traditional POTS service and Internet service.

Similar to Hopewell, Greenwich and Stow Creek residents said they dealt with "humming phone lines" and other interference to its POTS service, and slow broadband Internet service, according to previous reports.

Although Verizon made improvements to its wireline network in Greenwich and Stow Creek, BPU officials said that the service provider needed to upgrade the local network, including the installation of fiber-based transmission lines for both townships.

Similar to other New Jersey communities, Hopewell Township asked Verizon to install its FiOS service, citing the company's 1993 "Opportunity New Jersey" plan to wire the state with broadband by the end of 2010. However, Verizon said that the installation of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) was not part of "Opportunity New Jersey."

Interestingly, the BPU and Verizon crafted a deal that would ensure that rural communities like Hopewell would never get FTTH service. Verizon will continue to provide only copper-based DSL and its LTE-based wireless Internet services. 

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