Verizon proposed plans can impact vulnerable citizens

Dear Editor:

I would like to express my concern regarding Verizon-New Jersey’s (Bell Atlantic-New Jersey ) Alternative Plan of Regulation application and its impact on the most vulnerable populations. I am particularly troubled about how this could affect seniors on fixed income and those with low income.

If accepted, the plan will increase by 2 to 3 times the cost for local residential telephone service. The current rates at maximum, presently $8.19 monthly would rise to $17.50. In addition, customers would be forced to purchase services they do not need or want, namely: a minimum 25 minutes of regional toll calling and, three vertical services, e.g., call waiting. Even more disturbing is the fact that Lifeline customers would see an increase of 10 times the current rate.

Given the serious consequences this program would have in our area, which experiences overall poverty at over 18% and close to 50% for some seniors, we ask that Verizon reconsider this application.

Michael A. Leggiero President/CEO North Hudson Community Action Corp.


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