NEW YORK - Verizon is making local calls from 4,000 Manhattan curbside payphones free for the duration of the current emergency.
In addition, streetside payphones will accept incoming calls to make communication easier during the crisis. Payphones normally do not accept incoming calls.
Callers from the curbside payphones can make free local calls to any of the city's five boroughs. Conversion to free calling was under way this afternoon and was expected to be complete by about 6 p.m.
Verizon suspended pay service in recognition of the difficulty New Yorkers were having making calls due to congestion. The free service also provides an option for the many workers who were evacuated from their workplaces and thus isolated from their normal phone lines.
Verizon operates sidewalk payphones as part of a contract with the City of New York for streetside service. Payphones on private property, such as hotels, train stations and stores, are not part of the free-call policy, which will last through the emergency.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
Editor's Note - 9/16/01 Update: Verizon has provided more than 200 wireless payphones to serve lower Manhattan. Customers using these phones can make free, three-minute calls anywhere in the continental U.S. As of 9/16, Verizon is offering free local calling within New York's five boroughs from all curbside Verizon payphones below Broome Street in Manhattan.