Wireless may replace phone lines in Sandy-ravaged areas of N.Y., N.J.
Carrier says copper replacement isn't feasible for some Fire Island, N.Y., and Mantoloking, N.J., customers; critics complain to FCC, others
Computerworld - Hurricane Sandy devastated coastal areas in New Jersey and New York last October and left some Verizon Communications customers without copper phone lines.
Verizon offered an emerging fixed wireless technology called Voice Link to those customers, located mainly in Fire Island, N.Y, and Mantoloking, N.J, in lieu of spending millions of dollars to replace the damaged copper lines with copper or fiber optic cable.
The offer prompted hundreds of customers to send complaints that continue to be received by the Federal Communications Commission, the New York Public Service Commission and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Their chief complaints are that Voice Link provides voice connections, but not data for Internet via DSL over copper as before, doesn't offer fax services and won't work with some alarm systems, including some wearable alarms used by the disabled or elderly.
Customers who lost copper and get Voice Link must consider setting up data services with a cable or satellite provider, or perhaps using a wireless phone as a Wi-Fi access point with a wireless carrier, probably Verizon Wireless.
Voice Link can connect to sets of phones in a home or business with a small 4-in. x 4-in. x 1-in. box that uses an antenna to wirelessly access Verizon's CDMA 1xrtt network, sometimes called 2.5 G wireless.
Verizon produced a short video to describe the technology, noting that some customers like the service.
Some opponents of the move see Verizon's response to Hurricane Sandy as a test case on how the FCC and other public agencies will to treat customers nationwide who depend on aging copper-based telephone networks in an era of expanding wireless technologies. The issue today is most relevant in areas where a natural disaster suddenly knocks out copper-based infrastructure, and where replacing the damaged wires with copper or fiber cables is impractical and/or not in the interest of carriers.
Fire Island residents are "alarmed at the request Verizon has presented before the [FCC] and believe that approving this petition will inflict negative consequences on rural and hard-to-serve communities and consumers, including loss of affordable and reliable basic telephone services, which is the only form of communication many remote communities can access..." said Fire Island resident Jim Rosenthal in a letter sent to the FCC. The letter arrived at the FCC offices on July 17.
Public Knowledge, a public interest group, has filed ex parte opinions before the FCC, urging a broader review of how the the agency weighs cases involving carriers such as Verizon that plan to use alternative technologies to replace copper wires damaged in natural disasters.
The FCC left its public comment period open until July 29. The New York commission also has extended its review until the fall.
- Sprint to resell Google Apps for Business cloud service
- Samsung's S5 mini: Slimmer and slower than S5, but still scans fingerprints
- Privacy-focused Blackphone starts shipping to early adopters
- Why you shouldn't buy the Amazon Fire phone
- A closer look at the new technologies in Amazon's Fire smartphone
- Amazon's Fire phone is 'Prime' example of customer first
- Amazon's expected smartphone already faces skeptics
- Update: Tizen OS declared 'dead in the water'
- LG's new G3 smartphone: Simpler is better
- LG G3 sports quad-HD screen and laser autofocus
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- Securing Mobility, From Device to Network At one time, the process of managing and securing mobile devices and applications was fairly straightforward. Most organizations worried about one application (email)...
- Planning for Mobile Success Many organizations are seeing clear and quantifiable benefits from the deployment of mobile technologies that provide access to data and applications any time,...
- The Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Application Development Nearly all business users now demand mobile devices--their own or company-owned--along with anywhere access to corporate applications and data. What turns mobile devices...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts