October 5, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Harrisburg, PA – Urging the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to investigate Verizon, the Communications Workers of America charged Sept. 29 that the company is deliberately letting its older copper-wire network deteriorate.
Verizon has reduced the number of field technicians in the state by more than 20% over the last five years, CWA Local 13000 President Jim Gardler said in testimony submitted to the commission. He said it instructs technicians to “refuse to repair” copper lines serving voice-only customers, and that if they try to fix them instead of switching customers to the wireless VoiceLink service, they will be “subject to disciplinary action.” The company is “unwilling to spend the money to repair and maintain backup power facilities to ensure that phone service remains on during storms and other power outages,” he added, and in one case left a broken pole in Lancaster hanging for 4½ years. A Verizon spokesman called the CWA allegations “false,” saying that the company had invested more than $3.4 billion in its wireline network last year.” Read more