SPRINGFIELD — AARP Illinois and consumer rights groups in the state oppose new legislation that would allow AT&T to end home landline services in Illinois households.
However, the utility giant AT&T says the old technology is holding back new innovations.
The bills would allow AT&T to free itself from a legal obligation to serve the state with landline coverage. AT&T has said almost 90 percent of customers have gotten rid of old technology services in favor of wireless technology or internet-based communication.
Andre Jordan, the associate state director for AARP Illinois, said reliable telephone service is a basic necessity for all individuals and cutting some services could be disastrous.
“For older residents, telephone services are critical to maintain social contact, preserve their health and safety, and summon emergency assistance,” Jordan said. “In fact, individuals 65 and older are more likely than any other age group to have and rely on home telephone service.”
Jordan said AARP Illinois is concerned about the lack of alternatives that can provide consumers reliable access to voice and 911 services, especially in situations where their health and safety are compromised.
“The (bills) constitute an effort by telephone companies, especially AT&T to deregulate the industry at the federal and state levels at the expense of consumers,” he said.
Eric Robinson, an AT&T spokesman, said the new legislation would help save the company money by cutting older services but also offers enhanced services for its customers.
“By the end of the year fewer than…
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