Verizon has doused a public-relations flare-up with the volunteer fire department that serves a small Virginia island community, meaning that:
- The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company will pay far less than $73,000 to have telecommunications equipment moved off land that will accommodate its new headquarters.
- This financial relief will forestall the heftier bill possibly having had to come out of the hides of the Chincoteague Ponies, a herd of 150 wild horses that are shepherded by the firefighters and helpful to have when publicly battling a major corporation.
- And, finally, that T-Mobile CEO John Legere can keep his checkbook in his pocket.
First the cease-fire. From the fire company’s Facebook page:
“Got something we would like to share with you all………we want to thank Verizon for reaching out, stepping up to the plate and re-working the engineering designs that both gets the job done and makes the price much, much easier to take care of. We appreciate you working with us and look forward to getting the job (of building the new firehouse) started and finished!!”
The situation was much less cordial two weeks ago when news of the $73,000 tab had the Chincoteague community up in arms and blasting Verizon on Facebook.
After reading a Buzzblog post about the dispute, T-Mobile CEO John Legere – a social media showman — stepped into the fray by offering to pay the bill for the fire company if Verizon persisted in its demands.
It would appear such intervention is no longer necessary.
As for how the community views Verizon’s softening of its stand, there is this Facebook comment: “Nothing like public humiliation to get the attention of the mighty corporation.”
(Update: Here’s a comment from Michael Murphy, a Verizon public relations manager: “Recently the Fire Department changed the specifications of their request to us, and as a result we’ve provided them a new cost estimate based on the modifications to their plan. As we have stated before, relocating these transport cables, which carry voice and Internet to a large part of Chincoteague Island, without disrupting service to other residents and businesses, is a complex undertaking. We’ll continuing working with the Fire Department and the other utilities involved to reach a satisfactory engineering design.”)