Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized Verizon in a speech Thursday for not getting landline phone service back fast enough. NY1's Courtney Gross has the story.
Sandy's surge destroyed 95 percent of Verizon's network downtown and Mayor Bloomberg said Thursday restoration of that service is one of his top priorities.
Some customers may be without landline service for months.
Eddie Travers, the owner of the historic Porterhouse Brewing Co. Restaurant, is one of those customers. With phones down setting reservations and receiving credit card payments have been tricky.
"Two weeks ago they said it was going to be that week. Last week they said it was going to be last week. And this week they said it's going to be this week," Travers said. "There is still no sign of anybody from Verizon."
Bloomberg said stories like Travers' shouldn't happen.
"Their schedule right now says that Lower Manhattan is not going to be back up until May," Bloomberg said. "I pointed out that is just not acceptable."
A spokesman for Verizon could not tell NY1 how many customers are without service.
He said the company is not automatically notified when service goes down and during a disaster like this some customers have more pressing concerns than their telephone service.
Verizon said they are replacing the copper wires that were rendered useless after Sandy with a stronger, fiber optic network.
"We had have an open dialogue with city officials on numerous issues since the storm hit," Verizon spokesman John Bonomo said. "We share the mayor's sense of urgency. We are working around the clock on that transformation with all resources of the company."
So far the response hasn't satisfied the mayor.
"Those buildings in downtown that lost electricity and heat should be back up by the end of this month, but they can't be occupied unless we have telephone service," Bloomberg said. "That is going to be our number one priority for downtown."
Verizon technician James Edwards said it will be tough to get things going as quickly as the mayor wants.
"Sandy came in and did it's devastation," Edwards said. "You can only work so fast."
For now, customers will just have to be put on hold.