SACRAMENTO, California, April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Representatives of workers, customers and vulnerable Californians are urging the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce to reject AT&T’s AB 2395 (Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley). The bill would give AT&T carte blanche to avoid consumer protections including the obligation to serve all Californians, rather than just the most profitable ones.
Through the legislation, AT&T seeks to abandon the 10.7 million California households and businesses who still use their copper landline phones, because they prefer the call quality, dependability and top-notch emergency capabilities of copper. Small businesses and rural communities would be especially impacted, as they often cannot get comparable connections from wireless, fiber, or Internet based services. Until these alternatives become more widely available and meet everyone’s needs, the groups say, AT&T’s self-serving agenda disadvantages vulnerable consumers and puts the public safety at risk.
“Rather than modernizing phone service, this bill would take us back to the dark days when consumers were totally at the mercy of AT&T,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. “It will eliminate the most basic consumer protections, regardless of the enormous impact abandoning copper could have on emergency services and vital communications.”
Newer technologies would be impacted as well. The Communications Workers of America opposes the bill, saying that AB 2395 could “leave many consumers and communities with no Internet access, or with only wireless Internet access, which is expensive and often unreliable.” Toney said many of TURN’s members, including seniors, disabled people and families with small children, want to keep their landlines regardless of whether they have cell phones.
Key organizations opposing AB 2395 include: Communications Workers of America, District 9, The Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County, Greenlining Institute, AARP California, California Labor Federation, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Public Citizen, National Consumer Law Center, Center for Accessible Technology, the Consumer Federation of California, and San Diego Area Congregations for Change.
Contact: Mindy Spatt, TURN, 415.929,8876 x306