Michigan House passes bill to ease AT&T's POTS shutdown

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AT&T (NYSE: T) has another ally on its side in its aim to shut down POTS as a new bill passed in the Michigan House that will make it easier for large wireline telcos to shut down traditional TDM-based wireline phone service in 2017, reports mlive.com.

On Tuesday, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 71-39 to pass Senate Bill 636, paving the way for a telco to drop traditional POTS service. Changes made to the bill still require Senate approval before it can be submitted to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to sign into law.

AT&T has been a major proponent of shutting down its PSTN network. Earlier this month it announced plans to conduct TDM-to-IP transition trials in Alabama and Florida as it sets 2020 as the year when it will transition its entire network to IP.

Under its Project VIP Program, AT&T has been upgrading wireline and wireless networks throughout its footprint to support higher speed broadband and fiber-based business services.

While AT&T maintains the transition is necessary so it can make more investments in next-gen IP technology, the AARP and law enforcement agencies are worried residents won't be able to access necessary phone, medical alert and alarm services during emergency situations. One of their key issues with this proposed law is that a consumer would be required to ask the state to investigate if there's an alternative provider for voice and 911 services.  

In Michigan, service providers like AT&T need to get approval from Michigan Public Service Commission and show that at least one or two other providers can provide a similar service in the area where they are turning off POTS service.

For more:
- mlive.com has this article

Editor's Corner: AT&T's IP transition trial should consider impact on business customers

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