Verizon FiOS customers unfazed by replacement installers, but activation time remains a concern

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS customers who signed up for service right before the telco's wireline workforce went on strike aren't worried that substitute workers are going to install their service, but rather that they'll get connected on time.

Take new Manhattan resident Jessica Baron, who called to get FiOS service set up prior to moving to the city from Cincinnati. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Baron said she was concerned, like other new FiOS customers, that the strike would delay or possibly prevent them from getting service.

Being a recruiter who works from home, Baron said that she needs a Wi-Fi connection to engage with clients and job seekers.

However, Baron says she's not worried about who is conducting the installation, but rather that it gets done on time so she can continue working. "I'm OK with it," she said as she unpacked. "I'm most impressed that you're going to get it done today."

Baron's concerns are well documented. Two days after the strike began, Reuters and several local news outlets reported last week that many new FiOS Internet and TV customers were seeing service installation delays.

On average, Verizon conducts about 30,000 to 35,000 installations each week, with over 30 percent of customers opting to install services themselves.

Following the issues it faced during its previous strike in 2011, Verizon took a proactive approach to offset potential issues by training 10,000 substitutes ahead of time. These substitute workers were sent to a new training facility in Leesburg, Va., for two weeks of training.

Any Verizon staff member who has engineering or technical skills is assigned to assist with installation and field maintenance work. Verizon staff who do not have technical skills will fill in at call centers to field customer calls.

While the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) that represent Verizon's 40,000 wireline workforce met this week, the two sides continued to lock horns with Verizon (NYSE: VZ) management in Philadelphia over the wireline workforce's health care, pension and job security.

For more:
- WSJ has this article

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