I recently learned that last August, the FCC approved deregulation, https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-grants-relief-outdated-burdensome-phone-industry-regulations, that allows telecom companies to shut down their copper wire landline phone service and replace it with internet-based phone service.
This decision affects California’s most vulnerable groups, and if the federal government won’t look out for their interests, the state government should step in.
According to the FCC order, because landline service requires infrastructure that’s expensive to maintain, its existence is preventing us from transitioning to the next generation of communication technology.
Explain that to my parents, or to the 4.5 million older adults in California, https://www.communityphone.org/landline/ca#landline-usage-statistics, who still rely on landline service. My parents can barely use their cellphone, and the internet in their home often cuts in and out. I can’t imagine tying their primary means of communication to something as unreliable as their internet connection. Not to mention the fact that they lose internet service completely if the power goes out.
The FCC’s decision puts the telecom giant’s profit over the needs of rural communities, older adults and elderly folks and places with poor internet connectivity. The California state legislature has a responsibility to step in and advocate on behalf of the people who are most likely to get left behind in this blind march of “progress.”