Similar to most local phone companies, Verizon has seen a significant drop in the number of customers with landlines as consumers have migrated to wireless phones and Internet phone service. In 2000, Verizon served 6.7 million customer landlines in NEw Jersey, Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski told NJ Spotlight. It now services less than 2.5 million, he said.
This decline comes at a crucial time. As Verizon’s customers decrease, the company continues to face new scrutiny from state regulators over the quality of its traditional phone service and its commitment to offer high-speed Internet service to the entire state. The state Board of Public Utilities has ordered the company to explain why the number of complaints about its traditional, or landline phone service, have risen and why it has still failed to provide broadband service to 50,000 residents statewide two years after it said it would.
“I don’t think Verizon [New Jersey] has made any secret they don’t want to keep up the [landline] system,’’ Stefanie Brand, director of the Division of Rate Counsel, told NJ Spotlight. “It’s an expense for them. They are focused on wireless and their FiOS systems,’’ she said, referring to the high-speed Internet service and television program system they have installed over fiber-optic lines.