CenturyLink defends its Frame Relay, ATM shutdown request

CenturyLink is defending itself against opposition to its request to discontinue Frame Relay and ATM services in its non-ILEC affiliate territories to business customers, citing low usage and vendor equipment support.

In an FCC filing (PDF), the service provider said none of the oppositions filed in response to the service provider’s petition “call into question the merits of CenturyLink’s Application.”

At issue are two responses from individual parties who cite concerns over the availability of landline voice service and the supposed radio frequency radiation harm caused by wireless phone usage.

RELATED: CenturyLink to reapply for FCC permission to shut down ATM, Frame Relay services

Elizabeth Kelley, director of the Electromagnetic Safety Alliance, said in a filing (PDF) that if the petition was granted that a number of consumers who still use POTS (plain old telephone service) would no longer have a connection.

“My chief concern is that many people, who prefer to continue using land line services, would be left behind,” Kelley said. “The telephone provides an important communications service that promotes human connectivity and provides public safety in many ways.”

Kelley added that the ongoing movement to replace POTS with wireless voice service could cause potential health dangers.

“Wireless communications technologies are being promoted as the way of the future,” Kelley said. “Yet, there are serious concerns about adverse health effects that can result due to exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR), which is harnessed to transmit wireless communications signals.”

Gary Vesperman, a Henderson, Nevada, resident, cited similar health concerns from wireless phone usage. He said in his response (PDF) that he has written three books detailing the hazards of “electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices such as cell phones, cell towers, smart meters, Wi-Fi, and wireless computers, keyboards, mice, laptops, routers, and printers.”

CenturyLink responded by saying that neither of these oppositions to its request are related to the business-focused services they are looking to shut down.

“None of the oppositions filed in response to the Petition call into question the merits of CenturyLink’s Application,” CenturyLink said in its filing. “They instead oppose the Application based on the false premise that the proposed discontinuance will somehow affect CenturyLink’s provision of traditional telephone service or other landline-based consumer services. It will not.”

The telco said that “the Frame Relay and ATM services proposed to be discontinued are data services provided to enterprise customers,” adding that none of the “subscribers to Frame Relay and ATM services opposes CenturyLink’s Application.”

CenturyLink initially filed a request to shut down its ATM and Frame Relay business services in October 2013. At that time the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) told CenturyLink that the application would not be “granted automatically.”

In November, CenturyLink submitted a new application to the FCC requesting to discontinue its Frame Relay service and ATM services throughout all 50 U.S. states where it operates.