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December 10, 2016
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Landlines going the way of the dodo?

Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, left, assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and county legislator Gene Benson address reporters on July 10 about the importance of landline communication.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

In an affidavit, a Monticello resident said that Verizon representatives repeatedly tried to convince him to switch to Voice Link rather than restoring his existing phone service.

The Maguire statement said, “Overall, our copper network provides excellent service to customers, but for voice-only customers experiencing chronic problems on that network, Voice Link is an excellent option for them. Where they declined the Voice Link option, Verizon repaired their copper service.”

Schniederman also wrote that offering the Voice Link outside of Fire Island was illegal.

At the press conference with Gunther, Pete Sikora, the New York State legislative director for Communications Workers of America (CWA), said, “Verizon currently wants to abandon its landline service in areas where it does not offer its fiber optic lines,” such as in Sullivan County and other areas of the Catskills. The biggest problem with this, he said, is a public safety issue, because when cell phones go down, as happened in Hurricane Sandy, landlines still often work and allow people to communicate with each other.

Sikora also said that Verizon could save a great deal of money if it no longer needed to employ technicians to maintain the landlines in rural areas.