‘Can you hear me now?’
Peabody struggling with all-day failures of wired phones
Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke was sitting at his desk about 12:45 p.m. Thursday when he heard a sound he hadn’t for more than 24 hours — a ringing phone.
Phones across Peabody went down about 10:30 a.m. the day before. The failure last week marked the fourth or fifth time residents and business owners were without a line to the outside world.
Once service was restored, calls came pouring in to Pop’s Diner, a popular spot in downtown Peabody.
Some customers at CK Pharmacy walked in Thursday wondering why they couldn’t get through on the phone, pharmacy tech Patsy Litton said.
“It’s very much an inconvenience,” Litton said. “We had to use our cell phones to get out.”
The situation is frustrating, and it’s a public safety problem, Burke said.
“I’m tired of dealing with it, but there’s nothing I can do about hearing about it,” he said. “When we don’t have landlines, we can’t make calls or receive calls or receive faxes. I know faxes are old-fashioned, but we still use them.”
The outage meant that more people were relying on their cell phones. Burke said he received an “all circuits are busy” message when trying to use Verizon service.
“We have no way of conducting business at that point,” he said. “It puts so much pressure on cell towers.”
AT&T already has told Peabody officials that it would end land line service in 2024, Burke said. Just less than 1,200 people live in Peabody.
Peabody landline customers will have to switch to cell phones or plug their old wired phones into cell phone receivers to preserve current wired service.
Efforts to reach Vyve, which provides Internet-based telephone service in Peabody, on Monday were unsuccessful. A call to customer service was disconnected during transfer, and the hold time exceeded five minutes on a second attempt.