Verizon offers alternative to Voice Link on Fire Island

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Communications Workers of America Statement in Response to News That Verizon is Abandoning Voice Link on Fire Island, Building FiOS Network

Decision is Victory for Consumers; Model for Rest of State

New York, NY – In response to news that Verizon had abandoned its decision to force Fire Island residents to accept Voice Link, an untested, wireless-only substitute for landline service, and instead will build fiber optic telephone and internet service, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) released the following statement from Chris Shelton, Vice President, CWA District 1:

“This is a victory for Fire Island residents, and offers a model for the rest of the state,” said Chris Shelton, Vice President, CWA District 1. “Verizon is investing in fiber expansion, something it should do throughout New York State.

“Verizon should stop pushing Voice Link on unsuspecting consumers who don’t understand that it’s a less reliable service and it does not support DSL, credit card machines, senior alerts and home alarm systems.

“Instead, the State should implement a moratorium on the Voice Link rollout, and require Verizon to either properly maintain its copper landline network or build out the FiOS fiber optic network to the millions of New Yorkers currently bypassed by FiOS, who deserve state-of-the-art, reliable internet and phone service.”

Previously, Verizon had claimed that it could not build its fiber optic network anywhere new in the State, claiming that building the network was too expensive. CWA, consumer, good government and senior groups have argued that telephone and internet service are a vital utility service and that Verizon should not be allowed to abandon its copper network and force consumers onto Voice Link. Fire Island was the first community in New York State where Verizon had replaced its copper network with Voice Link service. Despite agreeing to build fiber optic service throughout Fire Island, Verizon continues to insist on its right to abandon the copper network anywhere in New York where it has not built its fiber optic network.