Illinois OKs end of landlines

Discussion in 'Technical' started by stg58, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    As the article notes landlines or POTS (plain old telephone service) are a dieing breed but my mother 89 years old no cell no Internet let alone a computer needs her phone as do many seniors.
    AT&T-backed bill in Illinois? Hmmmm I wonder how much that cost them.
    Illinois OKs end of landlines, but FCC approval required
    An AT&T-backed bill to end traditional landline phone service in Illinois is now the law of the land.

    Overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto, the General Assembly approved the telecom modernization bill on Saturday, enabling AT&T to disconnect its remaining 1.2 million landline customers statewide, pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

    But holdouts may have some time before AT&T pulls the plug for good on its legacy telephone service.

    "It's important for our Illinois customers to know that traditional landline phone service from AT&T is not going away anytime soon," Paul La Schiazza, AT&T Illinois president, said in a statement Wednesday.

    With customers switching to internet-based and wireless phone services, AT&T has been pushing for legislation to allow it to unplug its aging landline network and focus on the modern alternatives. AT&T said it is losing about 5,000 landline customers statewide each week, with less than 10 percent of Illinois households in its territory still using the service.

    While AT&T ultimately needs approval from the FCC to abandon a long-standing obligation to maintain its "plain old telephone service," it has already gotten similar legislation passed in 19 of the 20 other states where it is the legacy telephone carrier, with California as the only holdout.

    "The new Illinois law helps plan for the eventual transition to only the technologies that customers overwhelmingly prefer today — modern landline service and wireless service," La Schiazza said. "While the timetable for that transition is undetermined at this time, it could take a number of years."

    Critics say the new law will leave behind vulnerable Illinois residents, particularly the elderly, who disproportionately rely on traditional landline telephone service for everything from connecting with family to monitoring life-threatening medical conditions.

    Representatives of AARP Illinois and the Citizens Utility Board, an Illinois nonprofit watchdog group, expressed disappointment over the legislation.

    "If AT&T succeeds in ending traditional landline phone service, we think that will hurt people — particularly seniors and those with medical conditions — who depend on a landline as their most reliable link to vital services," CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen said.

    Chilsen said his organization is “not done fighting” and will shift the battle to the national level in a bid to keep in place the FCC rulings requiring AT&T to provide traditional landline service.

    "AT&T still must get final Federal Communications Commission approval to end traditional home phone service, so CUB will do everything it can to protect landline customers as this battle moves to Washington," Chilsen said.

    As part of the new state law, AT&T is required to notify Illinois customers of its plans to disconnect their landline service before petitioning the FCC. Customers who believe that landlines are their only viable phone option will be able to appeal to the Illinois Commerce Commission.

    Julie Vahling, associate state director of AARP Illinois, said the organization will focus on working with consumers who plan to appeal their landline disconnection.
    Marck, Motomom34 and Tevin like this.
  2. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    I agree... wifey changed us from POTS to cell (Verizon), same number, just a box on the wall. Problem is when the power goes out, there is no telephone service, it doesn't matter if the cell tower has battery backup, I don't!

    Motomom34, oldawg, 3M-TA3 and 2 others like this.
  3. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    3M-TA3 and sec_monkey like this.
  4. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    Local telco has converted from wire to fiber optic. Thing is, if power goes out, so does the phone. When the wire was still up, at least you could make a call to report the outage. Worse, it take power to run the "access module" that converts the optical signal to wire at the house entry. Guess who pays for the power to run the lesser level of service?
    3M-TA3 and sec_monkey like this.
  5. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    I am more concerned about the new 5 billion in tax increases that fall largely on the shoulders of guys like me, that the house overrode Rauners veto on. At the rate our taxes and fees keep going up there ain't going to be anyone left in IL to call landline or not.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  6. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey++

    As a communications electronics tech for a huge telecom and someone who has spent tens of thousands of hours working in central offices, I can tell you that most of what most folks think as traditional "POTS" lines running over copper into a switch have already been converted to something else without their knowledge. Furthermore, the idea that dial up lines are "more reliable" is a bygone legend that has not been true in decades .

    I really do get a chuckle out of people --survivalists in particular-- who think having a wired phone line gives them some special advantage over a cellphone.

    I addressed this very issue on my blog about a year ago: The Public Communications Network: What You Need To Know. - Off Grid Ham

    Even where the phone company does still provide traditional dial up, they don't care about it and are doing a "constructive eviction" of customers by not maintaining the network. In other words, make the service so bad that customers will leave on their own and the "problem" will take care of itself.

    Case in point: We used to have to clear switch & frame tickets (i.e., POTS service) within two hours. Now it's 48 hours; most of the time we miss that metric and the management doesn't care. It can take weeks just to get parts for these old switches.

    I spend 90% of my time on optical/Ethernet/cellular equipment and backup power and the boss is not going to pull me off those jobs to fix one stupid analog wireline circuit.

    Switched networks are like a steam engine on the information superhighway. They need to get with it and die already!
    Thunder5Ranch, 3M-TA3 and Bandit99 like this.
  7. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I was in the same business as @Tevin . The difference is most of my work was done in austere locations for different government agencies and even they are getting rid of landlines and the huge and expensive telephone switch that comes with them. Those types of installations are going to an IP based system which provide phone, internet and control using one set of equipment which is based on internet type equipment - meaning - they run the voice communication (phones) over their internet (network comms using fiber+Wi-Fi+microwave). This also allows them to easily make secure phones since everything is digitized. Since most locations will have a tower for radio communications they can easily add a cellular/mobile phone system. The days of stringing separate copper runs to each and every location is over and those telephone switches needed to operate a landline system are a dying breed. Now, many organizations still have them (for example, hospitals even the military) but they will definitely be dumping them in the near future. In my neighborhood, only a few still have landlines and frankly only a few use them. I have copper in the ground for a phone but my phone service and my internet (using 4G) is from cellular/mobile towers.

    What we all want in rural areas is high-speed internet and I have talked to the communication companies about using the copper for DSL but no-joy, not cost effective anymore yet fiber is too costly unless you can get a microwave shot (most can't due to mountains, hills and trees) you are stuck with 4G service which is horrible in cost and throughput during weekends and holidays (more so now with this 'unlimited' plan which is a ruse since you are given 3G after 10GB) or satellite which is just as bad. Sorry...I am off topic a bit...
    Thunder5Ranch and Tevin like this.
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    The Verizon 'home phone' box (I have one too) has a built in battery can actually take it with you in a car and plug a phone in the jack and have a hybrid 'cell phone'. Unplug your power cord and see if it doesn't continue to work.

    But since our house phone is an electronic type with answering machine/multiple remote phones in different rooms, it goes out when the power goes out....unless I flip the transfer switch over to solar power.

    The Verizon box is the way to go over landline, IMHO.....half the cost ($25/mo versus our old rate of near 50 for POTS), the range/power is better than a cell. etc.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  9. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    POTS - it is 80's technology. 1880s.

    Locally, my provider uses the cable TV network for DLPS (digital local phone service) and it blows rocks.

    Bad service, outages, poor connections and long distance calls drop out all the time. (A timing issue between networks)

    The central office wire line is old technology
    but it works....
    Bandit99 and Motomom34 like this.
  10. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    What happened to , "If you like your phone you can keep it " ??
    Bandit99 and Motomom34 like this.
  11. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    At least it did until they took it out. Fibe-op costs me more and the service is reduced. What's wrong with this highly touted "advancement" in "technology"? Looks like a setback to me. At least in the good old days when we had a party line, noting failed unless Mildred was taking a nap.
  12. enloopious

    enloopious Rocket Surgeon

    There is a government cell phone program. If you are poor they will give you one for free... and freedom isn't exactly free.

    SafeLink Wireless
    Motomom34 likes this.
  13. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    I can tell you live in an area where cell phones work ALL the time. Here, on a good day, a cell phone at my house will get thru. On a bad day, nope. And yes, that has been tested and found accurate
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    You folks are lucky compared to us Alaskan Bush Folks.... Our CellSite in at 3000', fifteen miles away, and was designed to serve about 1000 People TOTAL.... It has 96 Channels Total and a DS1 connection back to the Exchange Computer... This is very nice during the winters, and gives us very good service.... Our ISSUES come in the summers, when a CruiseShip docks at the Hoonah CruiseShip Dock that the FEDs built, for the POOR Hoonah Natives.... Each of those CattleCar Transport hauls 5000 people, and each of those people, carry a SmartPhone, to take pictures of the wildlife and cool Alaskan Places and send back home to "Mildred".... As long as they stay inside the Hull of the Ship, all that Cell Traffic goes out thru the Ships SAT Based Comms Systems, thru the Ships own MicroCell, but the second they step outside the Hull, they ALL hit the Hoonah Mtn CellSite, and our service DIES, Deader than a Fritter, INSTANTLY.... Oh Well, Technology, RIGHT.....
    Bandit99 likes this.
  15. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey++

    And I can tell that you don't really understand how the communications system works. In most rural areas, the copper from your house only goes at most a few miles. From there it is converted to a digital signal and sent on its way via a fiber optic cable or sometimes a wireless transponder. This equipment requires power and can do dark just like everything else. Backup power to these facilities, where it exists, is limited to a few hours.

    I've heard the anecdotal stories. (Old geezer voice): "I've had a phone for forty years and it never went out once!" If that's happened to you, then you're just lucky. As the phone companies purposely let copper rot away, you can be assured your luck will eventually run out. When it does, they will not be falling over themselves to get you back on line.

    I can assure you that if a tornado tears through town and takes out all the public comms, the cell towers will be back on line within hours while you will wait days, maybe weeks, to get your POTS line back. If you get it back at all: They don't really want you to have it in the first place.

    A single cell tower can serve hundreds of customers, so that's where the priority is. To get a little technical, in the early days cell towers were connected to the network with a T1 (DS1) or a T3 (DS3) circuit. Both are copper-based carriers and can handle only 24 or 672 phone calls, respectively. This worked pretty good until wireless data was rolled out. Today, copper based circuits running to cell towers is about as common as a wooden phone with a crank on the side. Everything is on fiber. By comparison, the smallest optical based fiber carrier is an OC3, which is the equivalent of 2,016 phone calls. In crowded areas, even an OC3 isn't enough. Some cell towers go up to OC192 (129,024 phone calls).

    My point is to illustrate why in a disaster they will rush to fix a cell tower while individual wireline customers wait and wait and wait.

    This debate reminds me a lot of the time when the phone companies wanted to pull the plug on payphones. All of the same arguments were made...the poor and elderly depend on them....blah, blah blah. Look at where we are now: Cell technology matured and became less expensive; payphones naturally died on their own.
  16. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    if the payphones go away, how is a dealer supposed to sell his dope????
  17. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    They switched to their obamaphones long ago.

    I am getting about ready to dump my landline. My only real use is for online connection - truly "unlimited data":- for streaming Netflix and Hulu. But lately I use my smartphone for my online use (no TV streaming though), and I testing my new Verizon "unlimited data". Used just under 20Gig last cycle, and never got throttled. So far so good. If it continues to work this well, the landline goes bye-bye. That'll save me $86 a month.
    Of course, the smartphone doesn't do all that my laptop can do, but I have reduced my online needs that are only computer capable.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  18. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    Let me see if I can help your understanding. Copper in the house. Fib-op to the switch, about 3 miles. After that, I don't give an aerial intercourse what it does or not. What I can tell you is that regardless, cell phones are NOT reliable in this area, and it has nothing to do with power to the towers, and everything to do with terrain and atmospherics or something else. And, I can tell you that the wires worked when the power to my lights went out. AND, I can tell you that the telco HAS backup power that worked on outages. AND I repeat that if the power goes out, so does my access module and thus my comms die. The rest of your heavy duty knowledge and explanations carry no water up on this hill. What you think, or say, about how things work in your AO is meaningless.

    My point was, and remains, that this switchover has increased my costs AND reduced the reliability of my comms. Now, if you want to, I'll accept your offer of buying me a cell phone and paying the bill for it. I don't want one, but if you're buying, I'll take it.

    BTW, 9-1-1 works, the call center has backup power. No power to the customers on fib-op, and no cell service, no 9-1-1. That OK with you in this modern high tech world?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  19. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Atmospherics??? At 840-900 MHz.... Not on this Planet, EXCEPT with the Old reTIRED White Alice System in Alaska... However that was done with 40Kw Klystrons, 80 Ft High Parabilic Dish Antennas, only T1 Bandwidths, and 100 mile Hops.... Not 40Watt Cellsites, 14dbi Sector Panel Antennas, with T3 Bandwidths, at 20 mile radiuses, per cell....MAXIMUM...
    M118LR likes this.
  20. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    White Alice, man that's Cold War Tech. No wonder you listed Old Fart Snow Monkey. :lol:

    All I got to visit where the Bluegrass sites.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary