Senate Votes To Ease Ability To Drop Land Lines - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Senate Votes To Ease Ability To Drop Land Lines

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - Phone companies would have an easier time discontinuing traditional land lines under legislation that has passed the Michigan Senate.

The bill approved 31-4 Thursday is designed to loosen regulations on AT&T and other providers as more customers forgo land lines and just carry cellphones. The number of traditional land lines dropped from 6.8 million in 2001 to 2.6 million last year, and providers want more flexibility to do away with traditional service.

The proposed changes would begin in 2017.

People who still want a land line could get an Internet-provided phone line known as VoIP if they have broadband access.

AT&T says the legislation would eliminate red tape. Critics such as the AARP say they have concerns about reliability and say the bill should do more to protect customers.

 

 

Senator Mike Nofs and two ATT lobbyist are working on legislation to protect grandma by including the following safeguards:

 

(1) Notification

(2) Complain to PSC

(3) Investigation Done

(4) Find Another Service

(5) Keep Hard Line

The Senate gives this assurance, despite all the hoops seniors might have to navigate to keep their hard line phone.

"We are not going to allow grandma not to be able to call 911 and be able to take care of herself," said Nofs.

 

Thane Namy with Cleary Communications competes with AT&T and wants to kill the bill because he contends competitors would be forced out of business. "They can do that, but it's a very complex process and having someone at age 75 walking through and fighting a case like that at the PSC is very unrealistic for them."

 

But Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood is confident the system will work. "There are going to be a lot of eyes on this and if someone says we are going to withdraw service, the public will know about it," said Hopgood, who assures grandma is not at risk.

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