The New York PSC authorized Verizon to offer wireless Voice Link service – on an interim basis – to customers on Fire Island where the copper wire facilities were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. However, it should be noted that the PSC denied Verizon’s request to exit the wireline market in the specified areas of western Fire Island pending further review.
The PSC extended the comment period in this proceeding to September 13, 2013. This will allow customers and other parties time to fully evaluate Voice Link service on Fire Island during the summer.
Voice Link Service, Verizon’s alternative to basic wireline service, requires the installation of a small transmitter/receiver at the customer’s premises. The transmitter is plugged into a standard electrical outlet and then into any telephone jack. Customers are able to use their existing telephone sets by plugging into the jack. The service requires use of mandatory ten-digit dialing.
Prior to Hurricane Sandy, Verizon provided voice service to about 2,700 access lines on the western portion of Fire Island. A large percentage of its copper facilities were damaged beyond repair by Sandy and the company proposed to offer Voice Link service as an alternative. Verizon continues to provide service in the eastern portion of the island through use of existing landline facilities and in some parts of the western portion where existing copper pairs are still functional.
Watch for future TMI Regulatory Bulletins regarding developments on this issue.