FCC takes close look at Verizon bid to drop landline phone service


In its notice, the FCC explained that groups have complained that Voice Link is not a "reasonable substitute" for the traditional phone service.

Verizon's proposal covers parts of Fire Island, N.Y., and Mantoloking, N.J.

"In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy Verizon has worked to get voice services restored to those areas of New York and New Jersey hardest hit," Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said. "We encourage the FCC to complete its review of this narrow petition limited to these discrete communities quickly."

Harold Feld, senior vice president for consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, applauded the FCC for gathering more information before making a decision.

"Hundreds of Fire Island residents have already complained that Voice Link provides inferior voice quality and reliability and does not support internet access, medical alerts, security alarms, credit card processing, collect calls and certain calling card services," he said in a statement. "Until the FCC has ensured that these customers will not continue to be harmed by the limitations of Voice Link, it cannot find that Voice Link is equivalent to the wireline network users have counted on for decades."