Pennsylvania Regulators to Hold Hearings on Verizon's Neglect of Telephone System

Last fall, CWA activists presented the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) with hundreds of examples of dangerous Verizon telephone line and work locations across 13 Pennsylvania counties. Now, the PUC has announced that it will hold hearings into Verizon's systemic neglect of the telephone infrastructure.

Verizon not only is neglecting the copper network in this part of the state, but it refuses to build out its fiber network in that region, CWA charged.

CWA documented the multiple broken poles, sagging cables, ungrounded conduit and abandoned equipment caused by Verizon's neglect of the copper wire network, and also pointed that this negligence was a danger to customers, as well. The PUC has received thousands of complaints of inadequate service, and customers even have been unable to receive medical calls or call 911 for an emergency.

"Pennsylvania families are paying top dollar every month for reliable telephone service and safe neighborhoods and streets. They deserve better than Verizon's reckless disregard for public safety and service," said CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney. "CWA members across the state are climbing poles and fixing equipment every day to make sure that communities get the service they deserve and the service they pay for. Despite its billions of dollars in profits, Verizon knowingly is leaving its infrastructure in a state of disrepair, risking the safety of telephone workers and Pennsylvania residents."

CWA also asked the PUC to order Verizon to take immediate action to correct these dangerous conditions and to fine Verizon for what appears to be willful failures to safely maintain its equipment. According to CWA's petition, the PUC has the authority to fine Verizon up to $1,000 per day for each safety violation.

Read more here:

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. to look into complaints about Verizon copper lines

ArsTechnica: Verizon faces probe of falling poles, sagging cables and infested cabinets

FierceTelecom: Verizon's Pennsylvania network conditions face PUC investigation

Left: In Newport Township, in Luzerne County, PA, this partial pole is just dangling mid-air, with its connection attached to the new pole by a single cable. The cables that send signals to customers' homes still are mounted on the old pole; if it goes down, so does telephone service. Right: On Mountain Road in Montoursville, near Wilkes-Barre, this cross-connect cabinet is severely damaged, yet Verizon hasn't replaced it. Inside the cabinets are hundreds of pairs of individual conductors that serve customers. These cables are completely exposed to weather and animals that will affect customers' service.