AT&T plans to discontinue copper landline phone service in Illinois, the latest of many states where it is doing away with the service.
The Illinois General Assembly approved an AT&T-backed telecom modernization bill allowing the carrier to disconnect its remaining 1.2 million landline customers in that state, the Chicago Tribune reported. The assembly overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the legislation.
Discontinuing copper landline phone service requires both state and federal approvals. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a plan aimed at simplifying the copper, legacy service retirement process.
The FCC’s plan focuses on easing the transition to IP networks, streamlining network notification rules, eliminating rules that require service providers to dedicate capital to maintain TDM equipment and speeding up the legacy service discontinuance process.
In a blog, Dave Talbott, AT&T’s assistant vice president of federal regulatory, said since 2012 consumers have doubled down on wireless and IP-based services, largely abandoning plain old telephone services (POTS) in favor of these newer services.
“Today, fewer than 10 percent of households subscribe to POTS in the states where AT&T is the traditional phone provider, demonstrating that consumers are already making their technology transition,” he said. “Businesses also have moved on. When businesses grow, they are faced with a choice of how to meet their expanding communications needs. More and more, they are choosing IP-based services that can carry both voice and large amounts of data as opposed to extending older, archaic services.”
Moving quickly to replace obsolete networks and services minimizes the investment necessary to maintain them, and frees up investment that can be redirected to building next-generation networks and the more capable services they support, Talbott said.