ASHE COUNTY-America’s largest and most reliable network is shrinking, at least for some local customers.
On Monday, several Ashe County Verizon customers said they received a letter from the corporate carrier advising them to find a new service provider as their contracts would soon be terminated due to excessive data usage outside the designated coverage area.
“During a recent review of our customer accounts, we discovered you are using a significant amount of data while roaming off the Verizon network,” the letter reads. “While we appreciate you choosing Verizon, after Oct. 17, we will no longer offer service for the number listed above since your primary place of use is outside the Verizon service area.”
While Carolina West Wireless is the dominant coverage provider in Ashe County, many customers have sought services through Verizon’s Boone office.
“We encourage you to evaluate your wireless provider options to switch your services on this line to another provider before Oct. 17. After your Verizon Wireless is discontinued, you will no longer be able to transfer your phone number to a different provider,” the letter states.
The Jefferson Post reached out to Verizon’s corporate office for comment and verification of the cuts in service.
“Earlier this month we notified a small group of customers who live outside our service area and who use a significant amount of data that we won’t be their service provider after October 17,” said Laura Merritt, a Verizon spokesperson. “This does not affect customers who live within the Verizon service area.”
News of the service disbandment in Ashe County did not sit well with local customers.
On Facebook, several customers questioned Verizon’s refusal to pay a fee to use the cell towers owned by Carolina West Wireless as the reason for the pull-out from the Ashe County market.
“It’s not fair at all,” said Verizon customer Heather Pennington. “CWW has a monopoly here. From what I was told by Verizon yesterday even people passing through will not have service either. This is affecting about six counties in western North Carolina.”
Merritt also said there is no truth to the rumor that Verizon discontinued the services to the Ashe customers because the company is unwilling to pay the Carolina West Wireless rental fees to use the cell towers.
CWW did not confirm the cell phone tower rumor neither.
“Due to the confidentiality agreements in place we cannot comment about anything specific regarding our agreement with any of our roaming partners without expressed permission,” said Todd Elledge, a media contact for CWW. “However, we can say there have been no changes to any partner agreements or relationships. We welcome any carrier to use the towers in our service area. We would love to have all carriers use our network. It is our goal to provide the best wireless service and coverage to the communities we serve for our customers and any other carrier’s customers.”
Other Verizon customers have stated they’ve been told their service will not be interrupted and the cancellations will only affect customers who have unlimited data packages with Verizon in Ashe County.
Reach Jesse Campbell at (336) 846-7164.