Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - April 25, 2018 


President Trump loses another round in court on immigrant “dreamers.” Also on today’s rundown: Environmentalists tell New York Gov. Cuomo to match words with action; California lawmakers wear jeans, taking a stand against sexual violence; and Airbnb is called out for “secret tax deals.”

Daily Newscasts

AARP-MI to Lawmakers: Don't Cut the Cord on Landlines

PHOTO: Many Michigan seniors are among those who rely on landline service, which is why AARP Michigan cites serious concerns about legislation that would potentially cut it. Courtesy AARP-Michigan.
PHOTO: Many Michigan seniors are among those who rely on landline service, which is why AARP Michigan cites serious concerns about legislation that would potentially cut it. Courtesy AARP-Michigan.
November 6, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - Can you hear me now? Advocates for Michigan seniors say the answer would be a resounding "no" under a bill before the Michigan Senate.

Senate Bill 636 would give telephone companies free rein to discontinue landline services. About 90 percent of households of folks ages 65 and older still use landlines, which Melissa Seifert, associate state director for government affairs for AARP Michigan, described as "lifelines."

Allowing companies to pull out of communities without any recourse is a safety issue for seniors, Seifert said, because many of the services they rely on only work with a landline.

"Their life alerts - the whole 'I've fallen and I can't get up' system - that does not work over a wireless network," she said. "Alarm systems don't work over a wireless network, and a lot of medical devices that people use."

A spokesperson for AT&T said the transition is part of moving to a new kind of communications network and would not happen overnight. Under current state law, telecommunications providers that want to withdraw from an area are subject to a review by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

SB 636 would amend the Michigan Telecommunications Act, and Seifert said it's problematic for Michiganders of all ages. It would affect small-business owners who use fax machines and credit card verification systems, she said, as well as emergency services in parts of the state where cell phone access is unreliable.

"So, if you're close to a certain tower then yes, it'll find you relatively quickly," she said. "But if you're not and you're in a more rural area with not a lot of cell phone towers, you're going to have a problem finding anybody to help you out."

According to the Michigan Public Service Commission, roughly 3 million Michiganders subscribe to landline service.

The text of SB 636 is online at legislature.mi.gov.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI