Consumer advocates are kicking off a campaign opposing a proposal at the Connecticut General Assembly which would allow AT&T to drop some land line telephone service with no regulatory hearing or review. AARP Connecticut says it is joining outher groups in opposing H.B. 6402., which is being considered by the Energy and Technology Committee.
AARP says many seniors and low-income residents rely on competitive telephone land line service. AARP State Advocacy Director John Erlingheuser says even in its own ads for cellular service, the phone company includes a disalaimer that wireless should not be considered an alternative to a landline telephone. In his words, “There is nothing in this bill that benefits consumers, and plenty that would harm them. ”
Organizing Director John Murphy with the Connecticut Citizen Action Group accused AT&T of wanting “all of the benefits of being Connecticut’s phone company without any of the responsibilities.”
A spokesperson for AT&T Connecticut says anyone who wants a traditional phone still will be able to get one; spokesman Chuck Coursey says the bill would not change that. He says 10,000 traditional land line phones are disconnected in Connecticut each month as customers switch to newer technologies, while the existing regulations siphon AT&T investment from building and improving on the new technologies consumers want. Coursey says 100% of Connecticut homes had land lines in 1994, while 28 per cent of homes do today,
The consumer groups also announced opposition to another bill, H.B. 6401, which would prohibit state regulation of telephone service using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP.)