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State Senate approves bill making it easier to end landline phone service

C Simmons

A bill that would make it easier for phone companies to end traditional landline service in Michigan has cleared the state Senate.

AARP of Michigan and other groups worry the measure threatens affordable and reliable phone service. They say it could put some Michiganders at risk if they lose emergency medical alert systems available with traditional landlines.

But Senate Bill 636 still got overwhelming bipartisan support in the state Senate.

“Still, if you want the old phone and you want to have it in your house, you can still have the internet connected to your house, and you can use all the old jacks and everything else with your current phones,” said bill sponsor Sen. Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek).

Nofs says it includes a number of protections for current landline users, and will actually improve service in many cases. He says companies like AT&T are forced to carry the service even though customers are flocking to newer technologies, such as mobile and digital phone service.

Under the measure, companies would not be able to begin phasing out traditional landline service until 2017.

The bill now goes to the state House.