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Contact: Kate Hirsch / (732) 840-9028
September 19, 2013
Holzapfel, Wolfe & McGuckin Ask BPU to Look into Verizon Decision Impacting Mantoloking, Bay Head, Brick Customers

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Earlier this year, residents in Mantoloking, Bay Head and part of Brick Twp. were informed by Verizon that their traditional land-line phone connection was being discontinued and customers would be required to use its new wireless alternative called Voice Link. The company explained that the copper wiring damaged by Super Storm Sandy was too costly to replace. Last week, Verizon reversed a similar stance it had taken with residents of Fire Island, N.Y. after receiving negative feedback from the community.

Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin do not agree with the company’s change of position for Fire Island but not for these affected towns in New Jersey. In a letter to the Board of Public Utilities, the District 10 legislators asked the BPU to look into the matter as well as explore the option of requiring Verizon to wire these communities with fiber optics in order to ensure that all residents have adequate telephone services.

McGuckin and Wolfe are sponsors of recently introduced legislation (A-4359) that establishes a one-year moratorium on the replacement of copper-based, landline telephone service with wireless telephone service. The bill also requires BPU to conduct a study of the issue during the moratorium and issue a report to the governor and Legislature.

The letter from Holzapfel, Wolfe and McGuckin to the BPU follows:

September 18, 2013

Robert M. Hanna, President
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
44 S. Clinton Avenue
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear President Hanna:

Prior to Super Storm Sandy, numerous residents in Mantoloking, Bay Head and Brick had been dependant on traditional landline phone service, whose infrastructure was destroyed by the storm. Yet, Verizon has announced that the copper-wire system will not be rebuilt. Instead, residents will be forced to use the company’s Voice Link system. As you may know, there are concerns that the Voice Link system is incompatible with fax machines, security monitoring systems and medical diagnostic devices.

Verizon attempted to impose a similar “solution” on the residents of Fire Island, N.Y. After much outcry from the island’s residents, Verizon has announced that fiber optic cables will replace the copper lines. While numerous municipalities in New Jersey have been wired with fiber optic cable, Mantoloking, Bay Head and part of Brick have not. At this point in time, Verizon has not proposed installing fiber optic cable in Mantoloking.

As representatives of the 10th Legislative District, which includes the affected towns, we respectfully request that the Board of Public Utilities investigate this matter as well as explore the option of requiring Verizon to wire Mantoloking, Bay Head and the affected portion of Brick with fiber optics in order to ensure that all residents have adequate telephone services, which is a basic necessity. We would appreciate the opportunity for the community to be heard on this issue through a public hearing.

We appreciate any assistance that that you and the Board can provide to the affected residents of Ocean County.


Jim Holzapfel
10th Legislative District

David Wolfe
10th Legislative District

Greg McGuckin
10th Legislative District

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