I was disappointed to see that the Michigan House of Representatives has passed this piece of legislation making it easier for phone companies to get out of the business of maintaining landline phone lines.
The preservation of universal service that provides a reliable basic telephone service for all customers at reasonable rates is a matter that directly affects the safety and well-being of Michigan residents. According to FCC data, AT&T provides landline services to 45.2% of Michigan residents and 90% of Americans 65 and older still have a landline service. Already, Section 313 of the Michigan Telecommunications Act (as amended in June 2011) allows a provider to withdraw from an area subject to a review by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Nevertheless, in the two years since the current law has been in place no provider has attempted to withdraw services using the existing process.
During a power outage the only reliable telephone service is landline service.
Police chiefs around the state have spoken out against this move by the phone companies. We have concern that many areas of our state still do not have the infrastructure for basic internet service in place. This makes the option for voice over internet phone service an impossibility. That leaves expensive cellular service as the only available option and service in many of these areas is still somewhat unreliable.