Groups Seek To Save Traditional Phone Service

Alpha Media/Ryan Piers

Consumer advocates claim AT&T is pushing legislation that would lead to the end of traditional home phone services in Illinois.

Representatives from AARP Illinois and the Citizens Utility Board say that could deprive vulnerable customers their most affordable and reliable form of connection.

“That would open the door for AT&T to end traditional phone service once the FCC gives final approval,” said CUB Director of Communications Jim Chilsen.

The Illinois Telecom Act is set to expire in July. With the act expiring, Chilsen says At&T is backing two deregulation bills, one abolishing a requirement to serve home phone line companies. Chilsen says the other “kills Illinois local phone deals.”

Chilsen says the bill would be especially harmful to older residents, who rely more heavily on phone lines.

“For a lot of people, the landline is a more affordable and reliable service too,” Chilsen said.

Mary Patton, AARP Illinois volunteer, says the new legislation may limit the ease of calling emergency help for some customers.

“We are especially concerned about the lack of alternatives for consumers to get reliable 911 services, especially when health and safety are compromised,” Patton said.

Patton is asking interested resident to contact their state lawmakers at 1-844-220-5552 to encourage them to vote against the legislation.

According to its website, AT&T claims more than 90 percent of households have switched to modern, internet home phone services or wireless services.

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