Southern California Customers Complain of Verizon Communications Inc Forcing Them To Use VoIP Connections

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Complaints are growing in Southern California that Verizon Communications Inc is compelling unwitting customers to make the switch to Voice over Internet connections from traditional copper wire land lines, the Los Angeles Times reported.

An investigation done by the Utility Reform Network or TURN revealed that based on the files of the Public Utilities Commission or PUC, there were 32 complaints coming from ratepayers that Verizon is not maintaining its traditional copper network and pushing subscribers to Internet phones which are said to be less reliable, the report said.

It was only two years ago when two giant telecom firms and their allies in Silicon Valley were able to successfully pass over the law that deregulated phone- over- Internet calls. However, according to Senator Alex Padilla, the freedom from government regulation was not intended to affect those clients who wanted to keep on using traditional copper wire telephones. There was also an express provision in that law banning telecom providers from forcing people to stop using their traditional phones, the report said.

However, the complaints showed that Verizon is doing that. TURN has asked the PUC through an emergency motion to investigate the matter and act on the allegations. Padilla, the author of the bill, said the request stunned him because the PUC had informed him various times that customers did not have complaints. PUC President Michael Peevey told Padilla last week that he did not have any evidence that anything was going on, the report said.

Padilla told the Los Angeles Times, “This raises concerns at my end. If somebody is violating the law, there should be consequences.” For its end, Verizon Spokesman Jarryd Gonzales said they are evaluating the assertions of TURN and are “focused on providing our customers with the best possible service,” the report said.