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Sat September 14, 2013
Loss Of Landlines Feared In Rural Wisconsin
A bi-partisan group of legislators is pushing a bill to require telephone companies keep land lines instead of dumping them for only cellphone coverage.
Talking from a landline on her farm in the hills of western Wisconsin, the bill's author...State Senator Kathleen Vinehout says at her place, cell coverage is spotty, just like across much of northern Wisconsin. Consumers with only one phone company had protections up to two years ago...
"....unfortunately, that law went away this past spring and the legislators who voted on it two years ago were told we were protected by the federal law and we didn't need that particular piece of Wisconsin law. Well, it turns out we probably do....."
Vinehout says there's a petition before the FCC brought by some of the large telephone companies to eliminate the federal protections too. If approved, that would give the phone companies...she says...the green light to simply drop landlines. Vinehout says its a safety issue for many older Americans in rural areas...
"....right now I'm working with AARP who is very concerned about the safety of elderly people who live alone in country homes that don't have cell coverage. For safety reasons they want to make sure Wisconsin consumers are always protected...."
Democrat Vinehout says some Republican rural legislators are also interested in her bill.