As Sandy destroyed the old copper landline infrastructure in Fire Island there was no phone service for many residents. In need for a fast and efficient solution Verizon offered its “Voice Link” service to affected customers.
Voice Link is not a trial or a pilot program; instead it is a method for providing voice service to customers whose copper or other wireline service is subpar. Voice Link is a viable voice communications infrastructure that provides service just like Verizon’s other communications service offerings that function off of different types of infrastructure like wireless service, VoIP, TDM landline, or Fiber. This combined wireline/wireless voice option uses Verizon's wireless infrastructure and works especially well for areas less easy to (re)cover with old land line technology.
This service is not only much faster to set up for those affect by Sandy, but also fully compatible to the 911 emergency services and usable for over a day without power supply. Since it is a wireless technology, it will not suffer from damages caused by water or weather as it is a common problem with landline solutions. Acknowledging that Voice Link is a voice service which cannot provide internet service, Verizon has offered up an additional internet option as well.
There have been a number of misleading claims about the deployment of of Voice Link on Fire Island, which to be sure would make residents nervous if they were true. Voice Link is not being deployed state wide, only in areas where customers have voice only service and their service via copper wire is substandard. Verizon has said if a customer has DSL service and likes it or uses a medical device that relies on the copper network the copper lines will be restored. This is not an attempt to test new technology and begin to transition customers over, but a technical solution for specific cases.
Additionally, Fire Island residents demonstrated that copper wirelines were not a priority to them before Sandy ripped out the less than satisfactory infrastructure. Even before Sandy hit, 80 percent calls from Verizon subscribers on Fire Island were through the mobile network.
After the coper infrastructure was damaged beyond repair, Verizon, wanting to keep its subscribers, looked for the fastest most efficient method to restore service to the area. As a company, they don’t want to lose customers. Copper is an infrastructure of the past. It can’t carry as much information as quickly as other types of infrastructure. To residents of Fire Island, it may not seem like that now, but in a few short years they probably won’t want their obsolete copper networks anymore. They would want new infrastructure servicing their communications needs.
Millions of Americans have made the switch to VoIP or “cut the cord” in favor of a mobile only voice option, because these options are better than copper service. It’s only been since May that Verizon has started offering Voice Link on Fire Island and a few other ears that were badly damaged by Sandy. Fire Island residents are not second-class citizens, Verizon is trying to give them first-rate service, service that they certainly would not have right now, if Verizon were forced to lay new copper wire.