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Why AT&T's SB 99 Is Bad For Small Towns And Rural Areas of Kentucky Posted: February 7, 2014
SB 99 = Less Reliable, Less Functional Phone Service For New Homes and Businesses In Small Towns and Rural Kentucky
Supporters of Senate Bill 99, AT&Ts bill to deregulate basic home phone service, have stated that if you have basic landline phone service and live in a community whose phone exchange has less than 15,000 households, you can keep that service.
But what if you move to a new house, apartment, or relocate your business?
If SB 99 becomes law, AT&T, Windstream, and Cincinnati Bell would not have to provide stand-alone wireline basic local phone service to any new homes, apartments, and businesses in areas with less than 15,000 households where there isn’t already a landline, and can instead offer “wireless home phone service.”
But isn’t wireless home phone service just as good as a landline?
According to AT&T, apparently not.
Here’s what the AT&T says about their wireless service reliability and functionality:
“AT&T Wireless Home Phone is not compatible with home security systems, fax machines, medical alert and monitoring services, credit card machines, IP/PBX Phone systems, or dial-up Internet service.” From AT&T website.
“AT&T's wireless services are not equivalent to wireline Internet.” Wireless Customer Agreement, Section 4.1.
“WE DO NOT GUARANTEE YOU UNINTERRUPTED SERVICE OR COVERAGE. WE CANNOT ASSURE YOU THAT IF YOU PLACE A 911 CALL YOU WILL BE FOUND.” (All caps in original). Section 4.1.
And because wireless services have limited battery backup power, they will not be as reliable during power outages caused by storms and other disasters, as landlines that are independently powered.
So why does it make any sense for Kentuckians in small towns and rural areas, who now enjoy the right to access basic local exchange phone service, the reliability of which is assured by the Public Service Commission’s regulatory powers over AT&T, Windstream and Cincinnati Bell, to give up that right in return for less-reliable, less functional wireless service if you move to a new home, apartment or building that doesn’t currently have a wireline in place?