Consumer Groups Oppose Phone Landline Legislation

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Proposed state legislation that could allow phone companies to get out of the landline business has drawn opposition from consumer groups who say the bill would hurt older and low-income Ohioans in rural areas.

Consumer groups held a news conference Monday in Columbus to oppose the bill. They say it would weaken consumer protection for those who rely on landlines and jeopardize municipalities' ability to get educational and emergency services to residents.

The bill would allow companies to discontinue basic landline service beginning in 2013 in areas deemed competitive by Ohio's Public Utilities Commission. An area could be deemed competitive if two other telecommunications services such as wireless or cable exist there.

Proponents say the change would free phone companies from outdated regulations that require access to basic phone service.