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New Yorkers Beat Back Verizon's Push to Kill Landlines

By Craig Galbraith
September 19, 2013 - News

Verizon decided to pull its bid with New York's Public Service Commission to move some New Yorkers off landlines an onto a cellular network.

The communications giant got an earful from a number of groups, but most notably, the fight from the AARP and the senior citizens it represents was likely what convinced Verizon to back away from its pursuit of wireless-only connections in Lewisboro and North Salem, N.Y., the Bedford-Katonah Patch reported.

“Traditional telephone service is a basic necessity, and customers across New York must be able to rely on personal emergency-alert technologies such as Life Alert, medical-monitoring devices and home-security systems. Voice Link, in most instances, doesn’t support these crucial technologies, and we’re glad Verizon is moving to offer other options in New York that do," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York, as quoted by the Patch from a state assemblyman's blog.

The people of New York state love their landlines; they're more connected to them than people in any other state except Rhode Island. Only 18 percent of New York households are mobile-only. That compares to the nationwide average of approximately 33 percent. Half of the homes with children in Arkansas, Idaho and Mississippi have ditched landlines.

Traditional operators like Verizon are at a disadvantage in New York compared to cable companies and wireless carriers because they must offer universal service in areas they serve unless they can successfully petition to scrub it.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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