By Miriam Raftery
Image: CC via Bing
February 8, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – AT&T has filed an application asking the California Public Utilities Commission to end AT&T’s obligation to serve as a carrier of last resort (COLR) and cease maintaining land line telephone service. A map indicates this would include the entire San Diego region. If the CPUC approves the request, land line service could end as early as six months later.
There are no in-person hearings in San Diego County, but you can voice your opinion in a virtual hearing March 19 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. or post online comments here.
"If approved by the CPUC, over 580,000 affected AT&T customers would be left with fewer options in terms of choice, quality, and affordability," warns the Rural County Representatives of California. "Alternative services, such as VoIP and wireless, have no obligation to serve a customer or to provide equivalent services to AT&T landline customers, including no obligation to provide reliable access to 911 or Lifeline program discounts."
The proposal has drawn strong opposition from rural residents in East County and elsewhere in California, as well as consumer advocates who warn that ending land lines would leave many in rural or remote locations with no reliable phone service at all, since Internet VOIP phone service is not widely available in many places and some areas also lack cell phone connectivity. Even for those with cell service, land lines have proven life-saving options when cell towers have burned down during wildfires in places such as rural Potrero.