Ohio advocate groups rail against plans to disconnect guaranteed landline phone service

Consumer advocate groups descended on Columbus, Ohio Wednesday to make it clear to state legislators that they don't like a proposal to end guaranteed landline telephone service in the state.

The Ohio Senate approved the legislation 30-3 in February and the debate moved on to the House, where it will likely resume after the November elections. The state is proposing legislation, backed by the telecommunications industry, that says it is a "waste of resources to continue maintaining archaic landline equipment at a time when more and more consumers are walking away from the service," a story on NBC4i.com said.

The coalition of consumer advocate groups disagreed, pointing out that not everyone can get mobile service everywhere in the state.

"Thirty-five years ago that was not a problem because all we had was two little copper wires coming into the house and that was our phone service and it worked," said Mike Turner, executive director of the United Seniors of Athens. "And without those two little copper wires coming into my house I would have no communication with the outside world and there'd be nothing I could do about it."

According to a survey conducted and released by the Citizens to Protect Ohio Consumer Federation, there is "widespread public opposition to the proposal."

"Common sense dictates that ending the guarantee of basic landline service is bad for consumers," said the group's president and David Kelley, the group's president who also happens to be the Adams County prosecutor. "The polling results showing that nearly 75 percent of Ohioans oppose the law show that Ohioans well know good policy from bad policy."

According to Jack Kleinhentz, a representative for a phone company coalition called Technology for Ohio's Tomorrow, investing in existing landline equipment would mean cutting back on investments in broadband.

"The important thing is… where we are going to put the investment and how to maintain it," Kleinhentz said.

For more:
- see this NBC4i report

Related articles:
States mull eliminating landline voice mandates
Ohio loosens up wireline regulations