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Warwick phone numbers crossed

  • Warwick, Massachusetts is located in the northeast corner of Franklin County and has a current population of 780 residents. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE Shelby Ashline



Recorder Staff
Monday, December 25, 2017

WARWICK — It was Christmas Day and if you tried to call the pastor, you got the church, and if you tried to call the church, you got the pastor.

In a town where various phone issues have plagued them for years, Warwick’s Town Coordinator David Young had never seen something to this extent.

Many of the phone lines in the “978-544” area were crossed this weekend, following recent work done in the town by Verizon, which was not available for a comment at press time.

“This is not just a matter of convenience, it’s one of public safety,” Young said. “Verizon has the responsibility to provide service to anybody that wants it and they’re clearly not investing. It’s our expectation that they’re going to fix this problem and mitigate future problems.”

The issue, which might have gone by with little fanfare at a different time, was exacerbated by the holiday weekend. Not only did the issue flare up Christmas weekend, leaving shorter staffs, but also it’s a time when people are used to getting calls from family members.

Karro Frost was expecting a call from her two elderly parents, who are out in Colorado, but they couldn’t get through to her. Eventually, a sibling of hers reached out, and they were able to communicate family updates through email.

At church Saturday night, Frost, who has lived in Warwick for more than three decades, said the phone issue became the talk of the town.

“Verizon doesn’t seem to think it’s very important and they haven’t sent anyone to fix it,” Frost said.

Her husband, Jack Cadwell, was worried about what this meant for 911 dispatchers, who typically use phone numbers called in to help point first responders to the address of the issue.

Cadwell was concerned what this meant for security. He covers two houses for the Greenfield-based Detectoguard, which uses a similar system to dispatchers to locate where there is a problem.

The issue appears to have caused issues for many in the town, although some numbers — like that for the town hall and the fire chief — still work. Several people on a Facebook post in a Warwick-based group also expressed their issues with the phone lines this weekend. Young said he had many people reach out to him about the problems this weekend.

For Young, though, he was not affected by the landline struggles because he only uses a cellphone, and has so for roughly 14 years — because of issues like this.

“The phone service has been laughable. It gets to be a little boy that calls wolf situation because of this mess for so long,” Young said, who was speaking on his cellphone, connected to WiFi because of the spotty cell service in Warwick. “We need to find a way out of this, though.”

He said that part of the issue likely has to do with infrastructure, saying, “basically, we’re running on antiques here.”

“When they have a problem here, they literally have to go to junk yards ... because everything is so ancient,” Young said.

An update in infrastructure might be one approach to fix the issue, but he said that if phone companies like Verizon don’t want to invest in landlines anymore, then they need to figure out another solution — like finding a way to make cell phone service better.

“We really do need to have a telephone system that works,” Young said.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.