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Proposed bill may decide future of landline phones

M ichigan lawmakers are considering a new bill that would give phone companies the option to do away with the traditional landline phone service with 90 days notice.

M ichigan lawmakers are considering a new bill that would give phone companies the option to do away with the traditional landline phone service with 90 days notice.

S enate Bill 636 would do away with the traditional copper line phone system that has been around for a century.

T he legislation would allow phone companies to stop maintaining these lines.

"W e have always talked about land lines and think our phone , but the landline can do a lot more now you can bring us email pictures and TV and videos into our house ," Matt Resch, AT&T spokesman said.

C ompanies like AT&T insist that many people are already using cable and internet based phone systems and very few are still using the copper lines.

C urrently the state protects the older system , requiring companies to offer landline service to anyone who wants it.

H owever this bill would reverse that , making it possible for phone companies to do away with the service with 90 days notice.

" The landline isn't going away ," Resch said. "I t is just carrying a different product and it is based on the internet as opposed to the system that is been around for 100 years."

P olice Chiefs and Sheriffs around the state find it hard to trust big business to keep the landlines around when the law passes.

" We don't want anybody falling through the cracks and we don't want any gaps in our communication systems ," John Calabrese, Petoskey Director of Public Safety said.

T hey are mostly worried about the elderly and people in rural areas , because if the landlines were to disappear that means cell phones would be a necessity.

" Not all of them have the technology to be able to contact emergency first responders in the same way they can right now ," Calabrese said.

T he bills next stop is the House. If passed, it would take effect in 2017.

T he FCC would review the plan before allowing the phone companies to make any changes.

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