Residents Upset Over Lack Of Phone Service 4-08-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Residents Upset Over Lack Of Phone Service 4-08-2011

It's the 21st century, and while most of us are talking about getting faster Internet, some Mid-Michigan residents would settle for a phone landline.
It's hard to believe, but while the cables are buried, and phones are waiting on the hook, a Federal Communications Commission holdup is keeping them from ringing.
In these technologically advanced times we live in, stories like this are nearly inconceivable. Several areas of the state have no phone service because there’s no phone company.
“No phone number at all, there’s no area code and prefix to give them,” said Glenn Wilson, president of Michigan Access, a phone company trying to bring service to the region.
Several Ogemaw County residents TV5 spoke with are cut off from the outside world because the area is so rural, major phone companies don’t provide service. “We’re getting to be senior citizens here, we’re getting to need more and more doctor’s calls,” said one resident.
So for the last 1 1/2 years, three Michigan phone carriers have been trying to connect residents. However, a bureaucratic holdup between the Michigan Public Service Commission and the FCC is keeping residents from getting something as simple as a phone number.
“So you're stuck in a catch 22,” said Wilson. “The federal government is waiting on the state of Michigan and the state of Michigan says they have no authority to do it."
And whether it’s his company or someone else's, Wilson said he just wants residents to have a phone. "While they're sitting on it, people are dying,” said Wilson. “One man had three heart attacks and he can't call 911."
A proposed amendment to the Michigan Telecommunications Act is making its way through the state legislature.
It's before the energy and technology committee and would allow the Michigan Public Service Commission to hold hearings and advise the federal government on phone service carriers.
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