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As mentioned before, I moved back in with my parents several years ago when they needed someone younger around the house for heavy lifting and middle of the night emergencies and so on. My parents never had cable TV, just a regular old phone line on copper wires that is powered by the central office. This is important to me and them, as historically, when there is a widespread power outage from an ice storm or whatever, our house is far down on the priority list. So multiday power outages were common enough that we learned how to live without electricity for days at a time. But we wanted that reliable phone line for emergencies.

Well, when I moved back home, I wanted cable TV and internet access, and when Fios became available in my town, I was one of the first people to sign up. Verizon noticed that my parent's phone line was at the same address, and offered to switch it over to the FIOS box as well. We refused, since the fios box, when the power fails, switches to a backup battery that only provides limited service for no more than eight hours.

Since then, we added my mom's "Ive fallen and can't get up" emergency call button to my parent's phone line, and consistently refused Verizon's persistent attempts to convert mom's phone to the Fios box.

Well, it seems that Verizon had finally bought enough state senators and representatives to change the telecommunications laws here in Mass to force everyone over to optical fiber so they can remove the old copper cables from the poles and sell them for scrap, and stop having to pay high skill technicians to maintain it.

My parent's phone line was quietly moved over to the Fios box without anyone bothering to mention it to us. I'm sure some overly verbose and confusing notice was inserted into the bill for my elderly mom to not understand the significance.

SO this brings us to thursday last week. We had a short power failure at home, which took out the entire fios box. This took down all telecommunications service at home except for my cell phone. I call in to verizon complaining about my cable and internet, and a seperate call for my parent's phone being out. This is when I find out that the line had been moved to the fios box. I hit the ceiling and call various people at verizon, and they all toe the corporate line that the conversion is a done deal and there is no way back to the copper line.

I'm getting steadily more upset, and cancel my fios service, telling them to remove the fios box from the house. I remove the parts that are inside the house and leave them on the front porch or return them to the verizon store. I hope this will force them to move my parent's line back to copper. The tech shows up monday, refuses to move it back, and says we have no choice in the matter, and there is no other battery option to give the fios anything more than the 8 hour backup battery. I've also ordered cable and internet service from comcast, which is now operational.

So after this, I go to work, and from work, file formal complaints with the state telecommunications regulators and with the state office of elder affairs. That evening, after normal working hours, by this most amazing coincidence, I get a phone call from a verizon person who is, nice, and helpful, and knowledgable. But he denies that his call is in response to my formal complaint to the state.

ANyway, I pour out the whole tale of fuckup and woe to him, and reiterate that I need to have a phone line for my parents that will run for a three day power outage. Oh? He says, we have a secondary backup battery unit available for the home units that will run on regular D cell batteries. SO all you need is a large economy size box of D batteries to keep the thing going. Well, I sez, why didn't anyone I had spoken to in the previous five days mention that this was available? Apparently this is a new offering. Well, then send out one of these things and fix the damned phone.

The tech is scheduled for tomorrow morning, and if this is indeed as advertised, my parents will finally have their phone line back online. six days later. My internet and cable TV will remain on comcast. I'm shopping around now for a non-verizon cell phone.

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