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Verizon’s plan to deploy fiber to 900 homes and fix problems with its DSL network in South New Jersey is “haphazard” and fails to “address the systemic problems” faced by Verizon customers, an independent government agency said Friday.

The New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, a watchdog agency that advocates on behalf of utility customers, wants state utility regulators to move forward with an investigation into Verizon’s plan to fix service problems. Division of Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand made the agency’s position clear in a letter Friday to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU).

The BPU has been considering whether to launch an investigation of Verizon as requested by 17 cities and towns who say the company “has, through neglect, abandoned and retired its copper landline infrastructure in most of South Jersey.” Verizon attempted to prevent a formal investigation by submitting a plan to improve service on September 19, but Rate Counsel argued that the BPU should investigate instead of simply taking Verizon’s word that it will fix the problems.

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