Coakley, Verizon reach agreement

Keith Loria Dec. 21, 2010, 4:55pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Tuesday that her office has settled with Verizon Massachusetts over allegations that the company had numerous service quality problems in Western Massachusetts.

Under terms of the agreement, Verizon Massachusetts must make significant improvements to its infrastructure and landline network in Western Massachusetts. The company will provide for repair work and service quality improvement in Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin Counties.

"Reliable telephone service is crucial to every household and business in Massachusetts," Coakley said.

"Parts of Western Massachusetts, which lack wireless service and access to other landline service providers, rely solely on Verizon's landline service for access to emergency services and in order to conduct business and daily communications.

"We are pleased that Verizon has agreed to begin this critical work immediately and has established monitoring requirements to improve this vital communication service."

Coakley, Verizon, IBEW Local 2324 and the towns of Hancock, Egremont and Leverett all took part in reaching the agreement, which will allow Verizon time to assess the deficiencies in rural communities in Western Massachusetts and make changes to improve telephone service quality.

The agreement calls for Verizon to survey and complete repair work in 33 wire centers serving 65 municipalities by Dec. 31. The company must also improve the condition of its telephone network in 34 additional wire centers within 15 months.

Furthermore, the agreement requires Verizon to file quarterly reports to ensure a continued focus on maintaining and improving its telephone network and provide more detail On the information in its service quality reporting, including specific reporting on the Western Massachusetts region.

The settlement also subjects Verizon to ongoing reporting obligations and monitoring by the DTC and Coakley's office.

Municipalities impacted by the agreement include Adams, Agawam, Alford, Amherst, Ashfield, Becket, Bernardston, Blandford, Brimfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Cheshire, Chester, Chesterfield, Chicopee, Clarksburg, Colrain, Conway, Cummington, Dalton, Deerfield, Easthampton, East Longmeadow, Egremont, Erving, Florida, Gill, Goshen, Granby, Granville, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Hampden, Hancock, Hardwick, Hatfield, Hawley, Heath, Hinsdale, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Leverett, Leyden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Middlefield, Miller Falls, Monson, Montague, Monterey, Montgomery, Mount Washington, New Ashford, New Braintree, New Marlboro, New Salem, North Adams, Northampton, Northfield, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Peru, Pittsfield, Plainfield, Richmond, Rowe, Russell, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Shelburne, Shelburne Falls, Shutesbury, Southampton, Southwick, Springfield, Stockbridge, Sunderland, Tyringham, Tolland, Wales, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wendell, West Brookfield, Westhampton, West Stockbridge, Whately Wilbraham, Williamsburg, Williamstown, Windsor and Worthington.

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