Friday, July 05, 2013

Long Island community (Fire Island) opposes plan by Verizon to go wireless only after Hurricane Sandy

Fire Island (where “The Ocean Meets the Sky”) is a seaside resort town on an isthmus off the southern Long Island Coast, about 40 miles from Manhattan, requiring ferry access, and popular with the gay community (both the Pines and Cherry Grove, with about a half mile of beach and notorious pine forest between them).  
I often made day trips there when I lived in New York City in the 1970s.
Cecilia Kang has a story in the Washington Post Friday here

The town was battered by Sandy, and Verizon wants to replace all the old landline service with a suprt wireless only service called VoiceLink.  Presumably the service is good enough for Internet streaming video (not sure of the data limits and costs) and television, and most functions.  But DSL will not be available, nor old-fashioned Fax, or some function essential to medicine (I’m not aware that the community has a hospital from what I remember), or even the ability to take collect calls.  Some people want “plain old telephone service”, and there are a few barebones cell plans (without Internet) offered now, possibly aimed at low income people.   

My own feeling is that Verizon has a real point.  It is much easier to concentrate on making infrastructure robust and impervious to storms and maybe even sabotage if there is less physical wiring to maintain.  The public perhaps ought to get behind aggressive wireless deployment, if the data limits are generous enough. There are new technologies (like imaging systems, popular with insurance companies, to replace fax).  The medical questions are disturbing, though.  

Companies have already forced customers to adjust.  Some years ago, AOL eliminated phone line dialup and went all web.  

Wikipedia attribution link for Fire Island lighthouse. 

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