Michigan Landline Phone Legislation Garners More Controversy
According to a recent article by GovTech.com, legislators are currently trying to modify the Michigan Telecommunications Act in order to make it easier for telecommunications companies to stop offering landline phone service in Michigan. The bill, currently passed through the Michigan Senate, would restructure the process companies must go through in order to discontinue their basic local exchange or toll service. If the amendment is successful at restructuring the bill, the new rules will go into effect on January 1, 2017.
According to the article, the bill is sponsored by Senator Mike Nofs and is believed to have the authority to protect landlines for those that need them while giving companies the ability to transition to cellular-based platforms of service or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems. Nofs and others believe that companies shouldn’t be required to continue investing in outdated technology.
“The Internet has changed the way the world works, and it has already changed how millions of people talk on the phone. This bill ensures our constituents are protected while delivering new and improved technology. It’s the best of both worlds,” Nofs said.
In a recent study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), data specifies that the number of landline customers in Michigan dropped from 6.7 million to 2.6 million over the course of 12 years (from 2000 to 2012), giving further indication that it’s time to move forward with other services, such as VoIP PBX. AARP of Michigan along with The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, however, oppose the bill, expressing concern for older generations who depend on landlines for communication. Michigan will join a large group of states that have already condensed or even completely eradicated all state authority in terms of telecommunications if the bill is passed.
It’s imperative that state laws reflect newer, streamlined technology and residents and businesses have the opportunity to make use of this better, updated technology as well. With the passing of this bill, providers will be able to offer customers new forms of telecommunications services through other types of technology, such as VoIP. Currently, lawmakers are taking their time to look closely into this issue.
What are your thoughts on enabling service providers to eliminate landline phone services?