News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

SummaCare

NOCHE


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government


Drop mandate to offer landline phones?
Ohio Public Radio reporter Bill Cohen covers both sides of the issue of the proposed landline bill.
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT BILL COHEN


Reporter
Bill Cohen
 
In The Region:

More and more Ohioans are buying cellphones and giving up their traditional landline phones. “That's fine,” says a coalition of consumer advocates, but they insist --- a proposed new Ohio law goes too far.

It says that phone companies in some areas should no longer be required to offer the traditional landline service.  Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports.

Drop mandate to offer landline phones?

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:07)


(Click image for larger view.)

Advocates for low income Ohioans, the elderly and consumers are worrying: If phone companies don’t need to keep offering old-fashion landlines, customers can be hurt.

Under this proposal, which is past the Ohio senate and is now in the House, the current requirement that phone companies offer landlines will be dropped in areas where there are competitive alternatives like cell phone coverage.

But the critics point the possible problems, for example, they say the alternatives won’t need to be available to everyone in the area for the mandate to be dropped.

Michael Smalz of the Ohio Poverty Law Center advocates for Appalachians and he sees another dilemma.

“The bill does not require that the alternative providers provide affordable service. It could be service that’s twice as expensive or three times as expensive as basic landline phone service is now, but that would meet the competitive test.”

Ellis Jacobs is a lawyer advocate for low income residents in Dayton. He admits the trend is toward cell phones, but he adds, customers should still be allowed to fall back on landlines.

“They love their cell phones, but when they need make a call where they’re going to be stuck on hold for 10 or 20 minutes, they want to be able to do it on something they know they have unlimited access to at a low flat rate. This bill will put an end to that, effectively, in the state of Ohio.”

The state legislator, who helped push this proposal through the senate in February, is Republican Frank LaRose. He hints this bill probably wouldn’t result in phone companies dropping landlines in areas where they already have them. Instead, he figures the change will simply be in newly built housing developments where phone companies might decide to use their new freedom to not install landlines. Envision that housing development under the current mandate, LaRose says.

“About 45 percent of those households will actually choose landline phone service. Now, the rest of them are going to want high speed internet; they going to want video service, whether it’s cable or some other kind of video service. The fact is the phone companies still require to bury a phone line and connect it to every one of those houses, even though less than half of the consumers are choosing to use it. That’s wasted infrastructure dollars that could be used on getting that broadband technology out to all of those households that choose to use it.”

A coalition of phone companies and businesses is backing LaRose’s bill. They’ve also hired an economist from Case Western Reserve University to study the industry and current trends.

Jack Kleinhenz adds, if phone companies can save money by not having to install landlines they can plow the savings into the more high-tech communication methods that are pushing economic growth.

Backers of this proposed change seem to have the upper-hand. After all, they helped convince 30 state senators to vote yes on it; only three voted no. Majority republicans and minority democrats, alike, supported the plan in the senate.

We asked, critic of the bill, Michael Smalz, if this proposal is so bad, how come it got so much support in the senate?  

“The incumbent phone companies, led by AT&T, had 34 paid lobbyists working to get this bill passed.”

Smalls predicts, he and other critics will have a louder voice now that state representatives are considering the measure.

Bill Cohen at the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse Bureau

 

Listener Comments:

please do NOT drop requirement to offer landline service. Older people and many disabled, not to mention very small children who occasionally call 911 for help with ill caretakers,have trouble with the small buttons on cellphones. Further, landline coverage is practically always there` compared with the reception on cell phones.


Posted by: sheila bellamy (cleveland) on September 20, 2012 5:09AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
John Kasich is the biggest con-man in America. He will say one thing and then do the opposite. He is terribly successful at fooling the public and he is worki...

Some cab drivers in Cleveland refuse to promote Gay Games
the irony is that most americans distrust or hate muslims much more than they hate gays!! silly ignorant bigots-GO HOME!!!

New transportation companies come to Cleveland
Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) ...

Cleveland anti-poverty agency executive resigns amid financial probe
That committee won't be too independent. He plans to stay on until after the new appointee is chosen.

How can you wipe a criminal record clean?
Great article! NO CLINIC in May 2014, however, because it's graduation month for students For the next dates of the FREE Legal Clinic to help with Expungment,...

Drilling remains suspended while ODNR investigates NE Ohio earthquakes
Flaring and lights, so has all been halted? Also, smell of HS2 and sounds of an auger/drilling/water rushing underground. So, has all been halted? In light of t...

Will the Ohio River carry fracking wastewater?
Texas $ vs. WV citizens . Who will our governor listen to?

McKinley museum launches campaign to buy 'pawned' heirloom
Was the tiara sold or pawned? What is the name of the person who brought the tiara to the Gold

Ohio Supreme Court allows Stark County sheriff on the May ballot
Too bad they never got rid of Swanson, even after national exposure of the abuses at the jail. Maybe the abuses will stop now...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University