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Legislation Could Cut Cord on MN Landline Phone Services

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PHOTO: Many people aren't yet ready to cut the cord, but AARP Minnesota says landline phone service in the state could be put in jeopardy by several telecommunications bills under consideration in St. Paul. Photo credit: Daniel Oines/Flickr.
PHOTO: Many people aren't yet ready to cut the cord, but AARP Minnesota says landline phone service in the state could be put in jeopardy by several telecommunications bills under consideration in St. Paul. Photo credit: Daniel Oines/Flickr.
 By John Michaelson/Mary Kuhlman, Contact
March 5, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Legislation being considered at the state Capitol could leave many Minnesotans disconnected, with consumer groups saying there are several bills that may jeopardize the availability of affordable and reliable landline phone service.

One proposal would prohibit the regulation of voice-over-Internet phone services but Will Phillips, state director AARP Minnesota, says as a result those companies could stop servicing traditional landlines.

"In certain parts of the state, broadband or cellular service is spotty at best," says Phillips. "We also know in case of emergencies, in case of wanting to connect with 9-1-1, landline services are things people count on."

Despite the increase in cell and Internet phone services in recent years, the number of homes using landlines is still greater than the number that have gone wireless only.

Phillips says in addition to the impact on those in rural Minnesota where Internet or cell service can be spotty, the loss of landlines would also effect many seniors.

"We know many older Minnesotans choose to have both a landline and a cell phone, and then certainly again people in Greater Minnesota where that coverage is not quite where it needs to be," he says. "We want to make sure that landline services are there for those folks until those types of things are fixed and really brought up to speed."

More information on the related legislation is at the AARP Minnesota website.

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