For Immediate Release - June 04, 2009

Department of Telecommunications and Cable to Hold Verizon Service Quality Hearings in Western Massachusetts

Meetings to Be Held in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin Counties

BOSTON - June 4, 2009 - Department of Telecommunications and Cable interim Commissioner Carol Foltz said today that four hearings will be held in Western Massachusetts regarding the state of Verizon Massachusetts' telephone service quality pursuant to G. L. c. 159, § 16.

The hearings will be held according to the following schedule:

Franklin County: Tuesday, June 23, 6-9 p.m., at Greenfield High School Cafeteria, 1 Lenox Ave., Greenfield

Hampshire County: Wednesday, June 24, 6-9 p.m., at JFK Middle School Auditorium, 100 Bridge Road, Florence

Berkshire County: Tuesday, June 30, 6-9 p.m., at Berkshire Community College Robert Boland Theatre, 1350 West St., Pittsfield

Hampden County: Wednesday, July 1, 6-9 p.m., at Westfield College Scanlon Hall, 62 School St., Westfield

The Department is holding these hearings as part of its regional investigation of Verizon Massachusetts' telephone service quality in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties. The Department opened the regional investigation after the Towns of Egremont, Hancock, Rowe, and Shutesbury each filed petitions with the Department complaining about telephone service quality. Prior to opening the regional investigation, the Department issued a request for comment regarding whether a regional investigation was warranted. The Department received 57 responses to its request - including responses from the residents and officials in 21 communities and the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. Each of these responses were overwhelmingly in favor of a regional investigation. The town complaints have focused on line noise and service interruptions, particularly during wet weather.

"We find this information amounts to a reasonable basis for the Department to open an investigation regarding Verizon's quality of service," Foltz said. "Legitimate and significant concerns have been raised about the reasonableness of the company's service."

At the hearings, members of the public and town officials will be invited to share their experience and concerns regarding the quality of their telephone service.

"Consumers and local officials have raised concerns regarding Verizon's service and these hearings will give us a better understanding of the situation" said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.