Hudson Valley News
8:13 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

NYS Senator Comments On Verizon Plan

A New York state Senator from the Hudson Valley is the latest to pen a letter to the Public Service Commission in opposition to Verizon’s Voice Link plan.

Verizon’s plan before the state Public Service Commission introduces language by which Verizon could discontinue its current landline service in certain areas and instead offer a wireless service known as Voice Link as the sole voice service. Democratic state Senator Terry Gipson says he wrote to the PSC this week urging it to reject Verizon’s request.

He says he also is concerned about senior citizens, who do not want to lose their landlines. Overall, Gipson says Voice Link needs more study. John Bonomo is spokesman for Verizon.

And he addresses Gipson’s concern about 9-1-1 service.

He says the Voice Link service would be provided over a wireless network, which he says has proven to be extremely reliable and, in storms, restored more quickly than a copper line. Yet Gipson is not convinced.

Gipson says he hasn’t come across anyone in his district who supports the Voice Link proposal.

Gipson’s district includes most of Dutchess County and parts of Putnam. Verizon’s Bonomo insists the Voice Link plan is an option, that no one would be forced to switch, even if Verizon deems the switch to be in the customer’s best interest.

He adds that people whose wireless signals could not support Voice Link, as well as those with Life Alert or home monitoring systems, could not make the switch.

The PSC, meanwhile, is holding a public hearing Saturday in Ocean Beach, in Suffolk County, to hear from customers in western Fire Island and others on their evaluation of Voice Link as an alternative to landline service. The PSC approved temporary use of Voice Link during the summer months on western Fire Island, where the copper lines were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The PSC recently extended the public comment period to September 13.

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