Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

December 6, 2013

Senate: Ease ability to drop land lines

LANSING (AP) — Phone companies would have an easier time discontinuing traditional land lines under legislation that has passed the Michigan Senate.

The bill approved 31-4 Thursday is designed to loosen regulations on AT&T and other providers as more customers forgo land lines and just carry cellphones. The number of traditional land lines dropped from 6.8 million in 2001 to 2.6 million last year, and providers want more flexibility to do away with traditional service.

The proposed changes would begin in 2017.

People who still want a land line could get an Internet-provided phone line known as VoIP if they have broadband access.

AT&T says the legislation would eliminate red tape. Critics such as the AARP say they have concerns about reliability and say the bill should do more to protect customers.

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