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Seniors depend on basic landline service

Verizon's Voice Link service may provide adequate service for some customers. But, for many users who have an emergency signaling or medical monitoring device — or essentially, for anyone who uses their phone for data applications — it is not an adequate substitute. Voice Link may be a useful temporary “emergency” service for those who lost service as a result of Hurricane Sandy, but not as a forced substitute for regulated basic landline service as it appears is Verizon's intention.

The victims of Sandy deserve the option to retain regulated basic landline service in a reasonable timeframe. AARP, however, does support restoration of even limited communications capabilities such as Voice Link to those impacted by Sandy as soon as possible. The bottom line issue is whether Verizon will be permitted to reduce its mandated statutory responsibility to provide basic landline service (which is regulated by the Board of Public Utilities as to service quality and price) as an additional burden for those already impacted by Sandy, or whether Verizon will be required to repair the damaged landline facilities in shore communities.

AARP opposes any reduction of Verizon's statutory obligations to provide regulated basic landline services, and especially without a full hearing in which the public can have a voice.

Ken Lindhorst

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