Controversial landline telephone bill passes Michigan House

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Phone companies are one step closer to having a streamlined process for dropping landlines in Michigan.

The Michigan House voted 71-39 to pass Senate Bill 636, which makes it easier for a company to stop traditional landline or "plain old telephone service" in an area starting in 2017. The Senate must agree with changes made to the bill before it can head to Gov Rick Snyder (R-MI) for his approval.

Supporters, namely AT&T, say the change is needed to allow them to invest in more modern means of communication as droves of customers abandon their landline plans for mobile phones and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoiP) service.

AARP Michigan and law enforcement organizations are concerned residents will be left without reliable access to phone, medical alert and alarm services. They don’t like how the proposal gives more authority to federal regulators and places the burden on consumers to request a state investigation of whether there would still be reliable voice and 911 services in an area if a provider pulled out.

Controversial landline telephone bill passes Michigan House