KIM SMITH DEDAM
LAKE PLACID — Telephone service in a section of Lake Placid has come back online after nearly 20 days.
Landlines connected to Verizon equipment on Riverside Drive were without service while telephone infrastructure was rebuilt.
Ted Matthews, who lives on Deerwood Trail, said he and neighbors nearby were challenged by the outage.
“This isn’t 1911,” he said early Monday. “You don’t go without phone service for a month.”
Ray McConville, spokesman for Verizon, said Tropical Storm Irene caused major problems with telecommunications infrastructure.
In Lake Placid, the substation was wiped out.
“We had electronic equipment in a box on Riverside Drive that was destroyed by flooding. Repairs were completed on Sunday, and all customers should be back in service. We had to clear some right-of-way access in order to get there.”
In all, McConville said, 112 customers in Lake Placid were affected by the telephone outage.
RANG IN WRONG HOME
Matthews, a retired Verizon technician, said initial reconnection included errors that left his phone number ringing at the nearby neighbor’s house.
“If anyone called 911, it would send the responders to the wrong house,” he said.
Both that issue and telephone service have been fixed, Matthews said on Monday.
“The tropical storms caused a lot of problems with the network,” McConville said of the large area impacted and under repair.
“Much of our infrastructure is in the northeast.”
Verizon released a statement outlining the challenge faced so soon after a workforce strike that lasted two weeks.
“The impact of the storms began days after 45,000 union-represented wireline employees in the nine states returned to work on the evening of Aug. 22, after going on strike when contracts expired on Aug. 6,” the statement said.
FOCUSED ON REPAIR
During the two-week strike, Verizon suspended installation of new services to focus on managing repairs and maintenance.
“This resulted in a backlog of more than 100,000 orders by the time striking employees returned to work,” the statement said.
“The soaking rains of Tropical Storm Lee exacerbated the situation just as repair volumes due to Hurricane Irene had fallen.”
Residential customers with Verizon landlines can report issues by calling (800) VERIZON or (800) 837-4966.
Business customers can call customer service centers or account teams, as needed, the company’s statement said.
Verizon Wireless was not affected by landline infrastructure damage.
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Source : Press Republican