Rural, Elderly Ohioans Could Be Hurt By Phone Deregulation

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Advocates for the poor and elderly in Ohio say the impacts of the proposed elimination of landline phone service in parts of the state next year aren't being properly studied.

A bill that's pending in the Legislature would lift a requirement that phone companies provide basic service to all residents in areas utility regulators deem competitive. 
AARP, Ohio Poverty Law Center and others said Wednesday that cellphone, digital or Internet services aren't always viable options for rural, elderly and low-income Ohioans.
The groups also said a study committee on telephone deregulation created in November 2010 should be studying the issue, but hasn't met once.
The panel has until 2014 to study changes to competition, prices and service quality.
Its spokespeople said it wasn't immediately clear why the committee hasn't met.