By: Nichole Dupont On: 05:22AM / Tuesday February 08, 2011
One of three Verizon service trucks spotted in South County on Monday morning.
SHEFFIELD, Mass. — While making the drive from Sheffield to Lee to cover a story, I noticed three Verizon trucks, one in Great Barrington, one in Stockbridge and one in Lee.
Each truck was cordoned off by bright orange cones and, of course, a police officer stood by to direct traffic around the trucks. Hard hat-wearing maintenance workers were situated in buckets, high above the traffic, working on the lines (for hours in the cold).
That's when it dawned on me — Verizon doesn't have a choice, not anymore. Back in December in a settlement agreement signed by Attorney General Martha Coakley, Verizon, IBEW Local 2324 and Hancock, Egremont and Leverett, Verizon was required to assess and address the poor condition of its phone lines which are strung over 99 communities in Western Mass. The company had until Dec. 31 to survey and repair 33 wire centers (reaching 65 municipalities) and 15 months to improve the condition of its telephone network at 34 other centers.
It appears that they might actually be doing something now that the agreement is in place and all of Massachusetts is watching very closely. I will have to check in with those of you who still have a Verizon landline. I ditched mine once and for all a year ago, when the crackling on the line became a daily nuisance not worth the 40 bucks.
Who knows, maybe once the lines are fixed it will pave the way for high-speed Internet for the still-deprived hilltowns. Hey, anything's possible.