I did finally talk to a person at Verizon, and they allegedly sent someone out to my area to see if they could identify the issue. The final result I was given was that their technician was able to see the issue I have been having all around this area, but that the Verizon network was functioning normally. My interpretation of this is that they aren't planning to fix anything, and it's just what they consider to be an acceptable problem. Everyone I have spoken to who uses Verizon in this area complains of the same issues. Apparently we can all pay the same high rates but we can't get the same level of service, even when we're close to a cell tower.