Monday, May 16, 2022

Play

A measure aims to streamline absentee voting in Ohio; a new report finds the use of low-value health services high given during the pandemic; authorities say Buffalo mass shooting was a racist hate crime.

Play

Officials deem a mass shooting racially motivated; Russia said to be down 30% of its land forces in Ukraine; and polling suggests swayable Republican voters are turning against Biden.

Play

Optimism is in the air as rural arts tourism spreads, a Rural Home Hospital program helps patients avoid long trips to the city, and farmer cooperatives want Congress to offer more grant money.

Hold the Phone: Ohioans Could Lose Landline Service

Play

Monday, September 24, 2012   

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Hold the phone! Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that could mean the end of traditional phone service for many residents. Senate Bill 271 would allow providers to cut basic service in an area if two other telecommunication services are available, such as wireless (cell) or voice-over-Internet protocol.

The coordinator for the Rural Broadband Policy Group, Edyael Casaperalta, says cell phones are inadequate for some needs, particularly for seniors who might have difficulty using them. She also points out the issue of expense: Requiring the purchase of Internet service plus a phone could easily double a resident's phone bill.

"A land-line telephone is the only reliable, affordable option many people have for communicating with family members, with their doctors, with policymakers."

Casaperalta says consumers could lose reliable access to 911 and be forced to switch to more expensive services that could include unwanted add-ons. Under current law, local telephone service companies must provide affordable and reliable basic telephone service. Providers who want to scrap universal land lines say they are costly and outdated, but critics say too many people rely on them for reliable communication.

An estimated 1 million Ohio residents exclusively use a land-line connection, including many who live in rural areas or are senior citizens. AARP Ohio State Director Bill Sundermeyer says, besides preserving social contact, land-line phones are needed to protect seniors' health and safety. For instance, some seniors use the phone line to transmit routine health information from equipment in their home to their doctor's office, he says.

"They can make an evaluation of a person's heart and how's it working, of their lungs, etc. That information would be very difficult to transmit over a cell phone."

Just two years ago, Ohio passed a telephone deregulation bill that required setting up a committee to review the effect on consumers. Casaperalta says no new telecommunication matters should be introduced until that committee is formed and its report is complete.

"We should not even be considering another deregulation bill without first learning about what type of impact and assessing the impact of that first deregulation bill in 2010."

Senate Bill 271 has passed the Senate and is now under consideration by a House Committee. Similar legislation has been attempted but rejected in other states, including Kentucky and New Jersey.

The Rural Broadband Policy Group is part of the National Rural Assembly, which works on a wide range of issues affecting rural America.




get more stories like this via email

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., addresses an Earth Day rally at the Arizona State Capitol. (EDF/Adriana Zehbrauskas, Moms Clean Air Force)

Environment

Since its inception, Earth Day has been an occasion to advocate for a cleaner planet - but in 2022, climate change is bringing a higher level of …


Health and Wellness

While many Americans have resumed normal lives after the past two years, the COVID pandemic has not gone away, especially if you have a pre-existing …

Social Issues

An initiative that would repeal Washington's capital-gains tax on the state's richest residents is struggling to gain traction. Initiative No…


Parts of Oregon are considered child-care deserts because of the lack of access to care. (Irina Schmidt/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Oregonians are casting their ballots for Tuesday's primary election. One issue affecting many voters is access to child care. Courtney Helstein…

Social Issues

Gov. Tom Wolf, lawmakers and community leaders are calling on the General Assembly to pass legislation that would send checks of up to $2,000 to …

In an effort to help people rebuild assets post-pandemic, AARP California is having free webinars on financial topics, such as how to avoid scams that target homeowners. (ajr_images/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

About half of Latinos either lost a job or had their wages cut during the pandemic,according to a recent survey from Pew. Now, AARP is offering a …

Social Issues

May is mental health awareness month. As part of that, groups in Idaho are using HOPE Week to help kids in crisis and reduce the state's worrying …

Social Issues

There's a new effort at the statehouse to make it easier for Ohioans to vote by mail by creating a permanent absentee voter list. To vote absentee …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021