AT&T, the best internet provider in the US, has a new plan for all their stubborn customers who are still hanging on to their old landline phones. These customers will have to switch to a new and modern alternative or may have to face disconnection. Reports show that the traditional landline services are dwindling at a faster rate and account for only less than 10 percent of all the households in Illinois.
AT&T is pushing Springfield legislation to allow them to unplug the old voice only landline network to focus on more on their best internet and wireless phone offerings. However, this will be possible only after the approval from Federal Communications Commission, which is currently pending.
“We’re investing in a technology that consumers have said they don’t want anymore and wasting precious hundreds of millions of dollars that could be going to the new technologies that would do a better job of serving customers,” said Paul La Schiazza, president at AT&T Illinois. AT&T has about 1.2 million traditional landline users in the state of Illinois, out of which, 725,000 are business users and 474,000 are residential users. La Schiazza said that they are losing about 5,000 traditional landline users each week.
Experts say that at the current pace, the landline service of AT&T will wind up in just five years. However, AT&T is seeking to have a more predictable end to the service. As per the opinion of the critics, the bill would leave behind thousands of Illinois residents, mainly seniors, who rely on the traditional landline service for many things like connecting with family and monitoring medical devices and conditions.
“Many seniors have told us that they trust landline service more than any other option,” said Jim Chilsen, spokesman for the Citizens Utility Board, an Illinois nonprofit watchdog group. “A landline doesn’t go out in an internet or power outage, it doesn’t need to be charged, it doesn’t need a battery backup, and it doesn’t leave 911 dispatchers guessing.”
If the Illinois telecommunications modernization bill passes, the same will come to effect from July 1 and it will offer AT&T the right to cancel their old and outdated landline service with a notice period of 60 days. Existing AT&T landline users will have the opportunity to appeal the decision of AT&T to the state regulators.
AT&T will need FCC approval to abandon their obligation to maintain their old telephone service, but they have passed similar legislation in 19 of the 21 states where they are the legacy telephone carrier.