BPU to issue Verizon show/cause order over Cumberland Cty. service

TRENTON – The Board of Public Utilities took action this morning over Verizon’s broadband service in southern New Jersey and expressed displeasure with the company.

The commissioners unanimously adopted a staff request to issue Verizon a show/cause order over the quality of its broadband service in Cumberland County, including the town of Greenwich Township.

In addition the commissioners want to initiate a review of Verizon’s service quality in that area that would include a public hearing in Cumberland County.

Commissioner Joseph Fiordaliso said that while he is not in favor of over-regulation and is aware of the efforts that are ongoing to deregulate aspects of the telecommunications industry in the state, he wants people to get what they pay for.

But, he said, “If this is the direction we are going, where deregulation no longer protects the consumers, and the consumer has little avenue to go down to get a resolution, then we have a problem with deregulation.”

Staff and commissioners said that Verizon is supposed to provide 100 percent service, and that while 99 percent is good, that still leaves approximately 30,000 or so customers unprovided for.

The commissioners also told staff they want to ensure that Verizon is being cooperative and providing staff with requested information.

On a related issue, the BPU did grant Verizon’s request for relief from providing FiOS to some multitenant dwellings like apartment buildings.

The board unanimously granted the petition to grant an exception to the statewide systemwide franchise law.  The state Division of Rate Counsel also reported it had no objections.

The BPU said that Verizon under the statewide rule is supposed to provide the service to county seats and to areas whose population density exceeds approximately 7,100 people per square mile, unless it meets certain criteria.

Those include being unable to access a public right of way, being unable to access the site under commercially reasonable terms, or being unable to access a site because of an agreement with another company.

BPU to issue Verizon show/cause order over Cumberland Cty. service