Aging Americans Are Fighting to Stay Wired (to the Phone)

By John Voket

As a wireless kind of guy, I was recently connected to a survey that showed those age 50 and older are fighting to stay wired to their residential phone service while continuing to utilize their wireless or cell phones.

The Connecticut AARP survey, which was published nationally, indicated that while cell phone usage is very high among the senior population (89 percent), 84 percent of respondents indicated they were not likely to drop their landline. Respondents most often say they intend to keep their landlines because they want the security it offers in case of an emergency or because cell phone service is not dependable where they live.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents also supported AARP working with federal and state policymakers to ensure that telecommunications services are affordable, reliable, and accessible to all residents.

AARP Connecticut Director Nora Duncan said her agency and other consumer advocates are opposing legislation that could put landlines at risk for thousands of customers whose service includes additional features such as caller ID, call-waiting or long distance.

According to the survey, nine out of ten residents over age 50 say they currently have landline telephone service at home. More than three-quarters of these residents (76 percent) pay a set monthly price for a ‘package’ of services that could include, in addition to their basic phone service, call waiting, caller ID, or long distance.

Pending Connecticut legislation would allow AT&T to drop competitive landline telephone service in Connecticut by simply notifying the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Advocates also oppose legislation that would prohibit future state regulation of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Down in Kentucky, AARP is also supporting the use of advanced technologies; but not at the risk of leaving rural, low-income and fixed-income Kentuckians without access to basic phone service, including 911-emergency service.

On behalf of our 460,000 Kentucky members, AARP has vowed to stay in the fight on telephone deregulation. AARP and its grassroots citizen advocates are in the fight to win for AARP members and all Kentuckians who want a choice in keeping their landline telephone service.

Colorado and New Jersey are among a growing number of other states working to protect access to landline and telecom services for its seniors and residents. Learn more about where your state stands on telecom regulation at aarp.org.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.






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