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Proposed Ohio Bill; Making Landlines A Thing Of The Past

Typewriters, black and white televisions, and now possibly landlines.

A Bill in Ohio suggests less landlines in a hope to become more modernized.

Senate Bill 271 now sits at the House of Representatives.

"Are doing this, they say, to modernize, through some investments into more modern technology, broadband and other technology and get away from more landlines."says the spokesman for the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel, Marty Berkowitz.

But critics of the Bill say modernizing may not be the best everyone.

If passed the bill allows a telephone company to discontinue their service if they can prove there are at least two other telecommunications companies somewhere in the exchange but not necessarily everywhere in that exchange.

"A lot of that area in Southeast Ohio has very very spotty cell phone service so we would have a concern would be people with out access to a land line would be thrust into a situation where they're relying on service that might not be as reliable for them, or even available in some areas," explains Barkowitz.

And the Ohio Consumers Counsel says that spotty cell phone coverage could mean life or death, if trying to call 9-1-1.

9-1-1 can now track landlines in case of emergency but it's not as easy with the alternatives.

"Until we can develop a technology that will serve all the people, now the larger areas, Cleveland, Columbus, you know the flat lands, where you know you have cell phone service everyplace, there it might be a possibility," explains Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

If passed Ohioans may have to look at alternatives such as broadband, cell phone, or satellite.

But those alternative don't always come cheap.

"We have people on fixed incomes a lot in this County who depend on a land line and have that in their budget and it could possibly cost them to give up something else if they have to buy a cell phone and keep it," explains Mincks.

The Ohio Consumers Counsel reported in January that nearly three fourths of Ohioans older than 18, and over 90-percent of Ohioans over 65 live in a household with land line telephones.


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