In a recent statement, the officials from AT&T® indicated that they will continue their support for the traditional POTS voice lines in Illinois region regardless of the new state law. The telecom giant also added that several customers in Illinois heavily rely on POTS voice lines.
A few weeks ago, the Illinois Legislature made a voting that allowed the telecom company, AT&T® to disconnect their 1.2 million POTS voice customers statewide. Reports indicate that this happened when the lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto and accepted the telecom modernization bill. However, AT&T® will still need FCC’s acceptance if they want to alter the existing POTS network of the state.
In a statement, Paul La Schiazza, president of AT&T® Illinois, said, “It’s important for our Illinois customers to know that traditional landline phone service from AT&T® is not going away anytime soon.” In addition to that, the newly introduced Illinois law also contained a provision for increasing the 911 emergency service fees of all phone subscribers including wireless, landline, and online services.
La Schiazza said, “The new Illinois law helps plan for the eventual transition to only the technologies that customers overwhelmingly prefer today modern landline service and wireless service. While the timetable for that transition is undetermined at this time, it could take a number of years.”
The AT&T-supported legislation in Illinois, which would get rid of a requirement for the telecom company to offer plain old telephone service or landline voice service encountered opposition from the AARP and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) back in the month of May. This in turn ignited a new debate on the legacy services transitions.
The Senate Bill 1381, which was passed with a voting of 56-2 in May, will eliminate the state requirement that AT&T® will have to provide traditional phone service to customers in the state. Even though several customers have ditched their landlines to enjoy the convenience of a wireless, a major population of old users still depend on POTS voice service.
A spokesman for the CUB, an Illinois nonprofit watchdog group, Jim Chilsen, said that, “If AT&T® succeeds in ending traditional landline phone service, we think that will hurt people particularly seniors and those with medical conditions who depend on a landline as their most reliable link to vital services.” Apparently, the move from AT&T® to extend the POTS voice service will be highly greeted by Illinois customers.