From ArsTechnica:

Aurich Lawson

Sixteen cities and towns in New Jersey have asked the state to investigate Verizon, claiming that the telecommunications company “has, through neglect, abandoned and retired its copper landline infrastructure in most of South Jersey.”

In areas where Verizon hasn’t upgraded its network to fiber, it has failed to properly maintain the copper wires used to provide telephone service and DSL Internet, the towns said in a petition to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU).

“In more affluent communities, Verizon has begun to phase out copper with more modern fiber” while “ignoring these issues in communities like ours,” Hopewell Township Committeeman Gregory Facemyer said in the towns’ announcement of their petition.

Verizon denies the allegations, saying it is committed to maintaining reliable service in rural parts of the state. Verizon said it has continued to invest in its network because of “fierce competition for communication services” throughout the state.

Verizon predecessor New Jersey Bell committed to a statewide broadband buildout in a 1993 agreement with state authorities in exchange for a price regulation overhaul that the telco requested. While many towns are still stuck with aging copper networks, Verizon last year struck a deal with the state to allow it to meet…

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