States mull eliminating landline voice mandates

An increasing number of state legislatures around the United States are responding favorably to lobbying push by telcos to repeal mandates requiring them to offer landline voice telephone service.

Last year, when Wisconsin lawmakers passed revised telecom regulation that loosened the requirement for telcos to provide voice service to every household, the move was largely seen as not only a victory for companies like AT&T and TDS Telecom, but also a manipulation of the legislative process by AT&T in particular.

Consumer advocacy groups complained that AT&T was essentially rewriting the state's telecom laws itself.

In recent months, the movement to strike states' landline-voice mandates has begun to snowball, with legislative activity in Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and elsewhere.

Among proponents of the mandates, there is concern that eliminating requirements will result in much higher voice telephony prices for the remaining users as telcos try to quicken the retirement of their own copper network facilities.

Telcos though argue such regulations hinder their ability to compete and prevent them from investing in new network technologies.

For more:
- see this USA Today report

Related articles
Wisconsin legislators passed telecom law revisions last year
Cable telephony operators may face their own voice decline