Cincinnati Bell Telephone Company (CBT) is finding itself as the latest telco defending its request to discontinue a legacy service in its Kentucky service exchanges from individuals who are concerned the telco is going to shut down traditional plain old telephone service (POTS).
In a new FCC filing (PDF), CBT has sought to discontinue offering Local Area Service (LAS) in the Butler, Falmouth, Glencoe, Warsaw and Williamstown exchanges within the Kentucky portion of the telco’s operating area.
CBT has asked the FCC to disregard the opposition to its filing made by Matt Huck, CEO of Truth & Facts Never Lie.
For one, CBT said that Huck filed his opposition on Dec. 27, which was 19 days after the Dec. 8 deadline for comments.
Additionally, CBT said that while the telco’s LAS and the alternative Extended Area Service (EAS) are POTS services, the application “seeks only to discontinue the LAS limited area calling plan.”
Customers impacted by this change will continue to get access to CBT's POTS service, while gaining an “extended local calling area under the EAS plan.”
The telco’s EAS plan provides local customers with unlimited local calling throughout the Cincinnati Bell serving area using the same technology as the LAS plan.
In addition to opposing CBT’s discontinuance of the LAS service, Huck filed identical comments in over 60 other proceedings as part of an effort to “make a statement on much broader issues.”
CBT said that the FCC “should disregard Mr. Huck comments regarding CBT’s Application because they do not directly pertain to CBT’s request to discontinue LAS Service in the areas noted above.”
Huck says in his opposition letter how efforts in other states to shut down POTS service would leave consumers with only VoIP and wireless services.
“If this docket does not pertain to the 'Plain Old Telephone System' (POTS) then why is there legislature in states for removal of this system?” Huck said in his opposition filing (PDF). “What is this docket full meaning? Why is it required for removal? What is the 'safe' alternative you are going to present to people for POTS? Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIPs) and Wireless are not 'safe' and are not 'reliable' alternatives. Wireless is not 100% safe, I want the telecommunication and wireless technology industry to come out and show proof that it is 100% safe.”
A growing issue
CBT isn’t the only telco that’s been facing opposition over their service discontinuance requests from consumers and industry groups citing concerns that telcos are going to shut down POTS services.
Fellow telcos CenturyLink and Windstream have faced similar issues from consumers and businesses about their requests to shut down Frame Relay and small to medium-sized business (SMB) DSL services.
CenturyLink faced opposition from two individuals who cited concerns over the availability of landline voice service and the supposed radio frequency radiation harm caused by wireless phone usage.
The services CenturyLink is looking to discontinue are data services provided to enterprise customers, a number of which have no opposition as they have migrated to next-gen IP-based Ethernet, and other alternative services.
Likewise, Windstream said most of commenters opposing the shutdown of its SMB DSL services are not current customers and “are not affected by the proposed discontinuance.”
In November, Windstream filed an application to discontinue the DSL service its CLEC subsidiaries supplied to 300 customers in 22 states, citing low subscribers and equipment that is no longer supported by its vendor.