Verizon extends deadline for Downeast residents to change their plans



ELLSWORTH — In September, Verizon Wireless notified 213 customers in Maine, primarily in Washington County, that they would lose their service with the cell phone carrier because it was costing the company too much money to provide that service.

This was because the company was routing its service through a Portland-based company called Wireless Partners, and it was losing money on customers who were using a lot of data. Verizon gave its customers until Oct. 17 to switch to a different carrier, at which point their service would be cut off.

But after hearing from community members, Verizon officials have decided to push the deadline for switching carriers back to Dec. 1, saying the company will continue to offer services to customers who have no alternative provider.

The company’s media relations officer covering the Northeast, David Weissmann, said in an interview that the decision followed concerns the company had been fielding from their customers.

“We were getting a lot of feedback from folks that they needed more time to figure out their options,” he said.

In a written statement, company representatives pointed out that first responders are among those affected and that they will be able to keep their service.

“We have become aware of a very small number of affected customers who may be using their personal phones in their roles as first responders and another small group who may not have another option for wireless service,” read a press release provided by Weissmann.

Weissman said 8,500 customers were affected by the company’s decision nationwide.

When asked what factors led to a notice of service termination, Weissmann said customers’ home addresses played a large role.

“We will continue to regularly review the viability of accounts of customers who live outside of the Verizon network,” the press release read. “Supporting these roaming customers can often be economically challenging, especially supporting those on plans with unlimited data or other high data plans. However, we are continuing to look for ways to support existing roaming customers with LTE service.”

Jack Dodson has worked for The Ellsworth American since mid-2017, and covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties. He grew up in the Mid-coast region before living in New York City for five years, where he freelanced in documentary filmmaking and journalism. He is particularly interested in criminal justice, environment and immigration reporting.