A bill being considered in the Ohio legislature could make it more difficult and more expensive for local residents to maintain landline phone service.
We hope our representatives weigh very carefully the problems Ohioans in areas like Washington, Morgan, Noble and Monroe counties could have if the bill passes before making their decision.
Senate Bill 271 would allow phone companies to discontinue basic landline services beginning July 1, 2013 if an area is deemed competitive by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Areas are deemed competitive if there are at least two telecommunications providers in that area providing services such as cellphone, digital phone or cable phone.
Phone companies would also be exempt from meeting standards from Senate Bill 162 such as stipulating that outages must be fixed within 72 hours and companies must make all reasonable efforts to repair a basic local exchange service outage within 24 hours.
For those in urban areas, those changes may not matter much. But in areas where cell phone reception is still poor or there are more people living in poverty, they could be life changing.
In these days, when pop culture is filled with stories about the newest versions of iPads and iPhones, it can be easy to forget that so many people can't begin to think of affording these things. Many in the area don't even have Internet service or cell phones.
Those people can't be forgotten, as legislators consider this bill.