Residents in Stow Creek and Greenwich townships say their Internet, cell phone, and landline services are all out-dated and becoming a serious threat to their safety in the event of an emergency.
Stow Creek resident, Kyle Uhlamb, said, "We could use better cell service!"
John Klug, Superintendent for the Greenwich and Stow Creek partnership schools, said, "Well it's the entire school district and the entire township. We need better service. Right now we're on the wrong side of the digital divide."
Officials say people have been complaining for years about slow Internet speeds, minimal or no cell phone reception, and landline phones that fail in any type of storm. That's why the State Board of Public Utilities issued an order this week for Verizon to provide reliable phone service to the two townships.
Mayor of Stow Creek, Randy Dickinson, told NBC40, "It looks like we may have some answers coming pretty quick and that's very encouraging for us all."
Senator Jeff Van Drew said, "Now Verizon will work with the BPU and come up with a formalized plan, which in essence will say, 'We will get this done by such a date and we will get this done by another date,' and will go through the process of when and how they're going to get all this done."
School officials in Stow Creek and Greenwich say that the Internet connection has created a serious problem for their teachers because even though they do have advanced technology in their classrooms, the Internet connection has prevented them from using the technology in the way for which it was designed. Klug said, "We need to be out there and have our kids competing with other children accessing all of the information that's available."
Officials also say there have been times during emergency situations where landlines have failed, and they say, that is not acceptable.
Mayor Dickinson explained, "Some of the biggest concerns are emergency issues when you can't contact the emergency people." Senator Van Drew says he will continue working with the people of Cumberland County and that he hopes within the year, they will have reliable landline, cell phone, and Internet service for all residents.
Stow Creek school officials say Verizon will be installing a cell phone tower on school grounds this summer, which they say, will help increase productivity for teachers and students.