TRENTON – Verizon this afternoon defended its performance in southern New Jersey after a state regulatory agency expressed displeasure with the telecommunications giant.
“We will work with the Board (of Public Utilities) and present a strong case to demonstrate our commitment,’’ said Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski.
BPU wants Verizon to explain why it does not have 100 percent broadband service in Cumberland County, especially for approximately 30,000 residents in the Greenwich area. Verizon has provided more than 99 percent service, but had committed itself to provide complete service years ago, according to BPU.
Gierczynski said, “This isn’t a new issue. We’ve been dealing with local officials over the last few months. We’ve taken steps to improve our network infrastructure and increase the reliability of phone service.”
He acknowledged that the BPU has an obligation to look out for consumers and said that providing “high-quality customer service is a necessity’’ for Verizon.
However, a union official sees the problem that BPU cited as evidence of an ongoing concern.
“This is more evidence of a long track record of broken promises from Verizon,’’ said Bob Master, legislative and political director of Communications Workers of America District 1, which represents Verizon employees.
He said that Verizon is pushing for more deregulation, but that an agency such as BPU provides necessary oversight.
On another matter, BPU granted a Verizon request this morning, freeing it up from providing FiOS to apartment buildings in certain instances, but Master said, that too, is seen by his union as evidence that the statewide franchise law that passed several years ago isn’t working.
But Gierczynski said, “We’ve introduced a lot of services to meet demands and needs of customers,” pointed out that the telecommunications landscape has undergone a great deal of change in the last few years, and said again that Verizon will work with BPU to address issues.