Van Drew and Andrzejczak Continue Fight for Better Telecommunications in Western Cumberland County : News Room : The Van Drew Team for Change : Jeff Van Drew, Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land
Van Drew and Andrzejczak Continue Fight for Better Telecommunications in Western Cumberland County
GREENWICH TWP. — This summer, the western Cumberland County area may finally see an improvement to its telecommunications problems.
Verizon promised to bring its fiber optic network to Greenwich and Stow Creek townships, according to a letter from Gregory M. Romano, general counsel for Verizon, to Kristi Izzo, secretary for the Board of Public Utilities.
“The new fiber network will allow us to provide higher quality service to these towns than would have been possible over the existing copper network,” the letter, dated June 3, states.
“And this improved service quality will be available to all residents and businesses in the towns, not just current Verizon customers.”
The installation will be in stages, running from July to November, and involve extending fiber optic facilities from Bridgeton to the region.
“We’re excited to get started on this and to bring new facilities to the area and, hopefully, gain new customers as well,” said Lee Gierczynski, spokesman for Verizon.
The time frame is just an estimate though, according to Gierczynski, and the competition date is difficult to gauge at this time.
The development is good news to Greenwich and Stow Creek residents, whocontinually struggle with phone and Internet connections.
“If they can do all that they say they can do, it would be just wonderful,” said Bill Reinhart, mayor of Greenwich Township.
Reinhart addressed residents at Tuesday’s township meeting, informing them of the new development.
“This is a major step for the area — for Greenwich and Stow Creek,” the mayor said.
Stow Creek Township Mayor Randy Dickinson echoed Reinhart’s enthusiasm.
“It will be a big improvement for us and it will solve a lot of communication issues for us,” Dickinson said.
The township also approved a new Verizon cellular tower to be constructed to help its spotty cell phone service.
Efforts to improve the network started in 2010 when Trudy Hansen, member of the advisory group Sustainable Greenwich, collected 150 signatures on a petition to Verizon.
“It’s been a long process, as most processes are,” Hansen said.
In 2011, former mayor Ted Kiefer wrote a letter to the Board of Public Utilities and state
Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-1) helped facilitate the meeting between the township, the board and Verizon.
Along with the Board of Public Utilities, Van Drew also explained that he’s been in contact with Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to alleviate the telecommunications issue.
“We’ve got to continue to push this till it actually happens,” Van Drew said. “The people
of western Cumberland County deserve no less.”
The letter represents a victory for Hansen, however, after years of pushing for the improvements.
“We can work with the system,” Hansen said. “We can work together and we can accomplish things.”
Contact staff writer Don E. Woods at 856-451-1000, ext. 518