Consumer advocates expect Big Telecom to mount a new push to eliminate important consumer protections on home phone service in Illinois–and CUB Action Network members have something to say about it.
The Illinois Telecommunications Act—important legislation that protects your rights and keeps telephone landline rates low—is up for review in 2015.
In the spring legislative session, CUB predicts that companies like AT&T and Frontier will try to do away with essential safeguards, like the Consumers Choice local calling plans. Those are low-cost plans that CUB created as part of a legal settlement with AT&T. Since then, the General Assembly has frozen their prices, making the plans the best phone deals in Illinois.
The big phone companies also are expected to target the Telecom Act’s “obligation to serve” requirement, which ensures companies don’t abandon service in areas they deem “unprofitable.”
It’s no exaggeration to say the future of traditional home phone service is at stake–something millions of Illinois consumer depend on as their only connection to family, friends and vital services.
In CUB’s recent email survey, 79% of more than 1,500 respondents said that they oppose AT&T and Frontier efforts to deregulate the phone industry. Here’s what survey-takers said:
- “Senior citizens need to be able to have the Consumer Choice so we can afford to keep our phones. If we all have to get cell phones we will be gauged on payments.”
- “The phone industry – like most others – needs regulating! Phone service is a necessity and consumers need protection from greed.”
- “Deregulation would allow them to charge more for worse service, and to abandon ‘unprofitable’ areas, compounding the problems of poor people in our state.”
- “Big business is happy to trample the little people for even more profits.”
- “Deregulation will end up costing consumers more dollars, as the phone companies will increase consumer cost on services. They will say that competition will keep prices in check, but I do not believe that because of limited local competition.”
- “Save my AT&T Consumer Choice Plan! Also, I subscribe to Medical Alert which uses a landline to function. The AT&T Consumer Choice Plan I have helps keep the landline I need affordable.”
Get ready for a fight. With your support, we plan to take on Big Telecom this spring in the Legislature. Stay tuned for updates from CUB on how you can help save telephone service in Illinois.