Senators voice concerns over telephone tech switch

Coverage Type: 

Senators are concerned that an ongoing switch from traditional phone lines to Internet-based phone technology could leave some in the US without reliable phone service.

During a hearing held by the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, multiple Democratic senators expressed concerns that the new technologies would be less reliable than the traditional technologies, especially during emergencies.

“If there’s one thing that every person is worried about … its public safety,” Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said. “We need to make sure that these new technologies are functional,” especially when callers are trying to reach emergency services, she continued.

Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ) pointed to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which wiped out communications networks in parts of New York and New Jersey that had moved off of the traditional technology.

The so-called IP -- or Internet Protocol -- transition to Internet-based phone technology is being overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, which voted earlier to allow telephone companies to propose transition trials for areas where they intend to remove the traditional technology.

Senators voice concerns over telephone tech switch