Sunday, 19 May 2024

Kline: FCC deregulation leaves California's rural communities behind

I recently learned that the FCC is deregulating the telecom industry, allowing them to shut down old-fashioned copper wire landline service across the country and move their customers to internet-based phone service. I strongly oppose this change and encourage the California government to do what it can to save our landlines.

My parents live in a small town outside Lakeport, and even though they have cell phones, they continue to rely on their landlines. Their cell service is spotty, and their internet goes in and out constantly.

And they aren’t alone. 53% of seniors over 65 still rely on landline phone service. The thought of my parents being stranded without a reliable way to reach family or emergency services during a crisis is profoundly worrying.

While some argue that deregulation promotes innovation and competition, the reality is that telecom companies have little incentive to invest in rural areas. The FCC's hands-off approach leaves rural communities like my parents at the mercy of providers prioritizing profitability over connectivity.

I strongly urge the FCC to reconsider its deregulation for the sake of the millions living in rural America for whom the landline is a lifeline. The California government should step in and take necessary actions that prioritize the communication needs of seniors in rural communities.

Steven Kline lives in Lakeport, California.

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