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McGuckin Seeks Probe of Phone Service Changes in Mantoloking

Clamor is rising for New Jersey regulators to examine Verizon’s elimination of land-line service in Mantoloking. Shore-based Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (R-10) has thrown his support behind AARP’s call for a probe by the Board of Public Utilities.

Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (Paul Seredy)
Assemblyman Greg McGuckin (Paul Seredy)

The company claims that Superstorm Sandy’s destruction throughout the borough included all of the copper-wire infrastructure that supports the land-based telephone system, and cites onerous costs to replace it.

Company officials also contend that the demand for land lines is generally declining.

Verizon customers are required to use the company’s wireless Voice Link system. AARP says it’s a poor option, citing incompatibility with security and medical diagnostic systems, fax machines and internet service.

McGuckin, a member of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, believes the company is railroading consumers.

“An explanation is needed as to why Mantoloking is one of the only towns in New Jersey not to have a land-line option,” the Republican said in a release.

 ”This concern is shared by homeowners and businesses, and is not the ‘rhetoric’ of AARP. The community has a right to express its opinion. If Verizon is concerned about its customers and providing a choice in the service they want, they will listen.”

Concern also exists that the decision would have spillover effects in neighboring Brick Township and Bay Head. Given the potential for broader dimensions, McGuckin and AARP seek public hearings in Ocean County staged by BPU.

“The issue is not whether this is the technology of the future,” he said. “This is about Verizon making a unilateral decision to eliminate services in an area devastated by Sandy simply because it is cheaper. The precedent being set is scary, what utility will be next?”

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