Land line bill passes in House - WNEM TV 5

Land line bill passes in House

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

The House of Representatives has approved a bill allowing telephone providers the ability to discontinue land line service. 

The House vote was 71-39. A similar bill passed the Senate 31-4 in December of 2013. Details of each bill need to be worked on before being sent to the governor's desk for approval.

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.

A lot of people who live in rural areas still rely on land line service including senior citizens and the disabled.

"I still have a land line, I have a cell phone too. I just think it would be taking rights away from people, especially senior citizens," says Cheryl Schlink, a Saginaw County resident.

While the switch from traditional land line phones could still cause many problems, a lot of people in Mid-Michigan said the switch to cell phones only is just a matter of time. 

"I'm kind of torn about it. I see where we're moving forward and for a lot of people that are younger, they're not that useful. But there are senior citizens that need something like this," says Bay County resident Eric Birkle.

TV5 wants to know, do you think that landlines are becoming obsolete? Sound off on the WNEM Facebook page.

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