Senators Franken, Klobuchar and others ask the FCC to reconsider broadband changes

A team of senators including both Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken have sent a letter to the FCC asking them to consider the impact of proposed broadband policy changes…

Dear Chairman Pai:

We encourage the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to accelerate the deployment of advanced networks to all Americans. However, we have concerns that the Commission will vote on an item this week that could harm consumers. It is critical that we work to enhance networks across the country, we protect existing service for consumers during and after the technology transitions.

As currently drafted, the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure and Investment Report and Order lessens notifications to consumers about changes to their landline service (virtually eliminating advance notice of copper retirement to retail customers), eliminates the “de facto” retirement rule, and changes the definition of “service” to reduce access to critical communications for consumers in an attempt to lessen regulatory barriers on phone service providers. These changes cause serious concern for rural Americans including the elderly, low-income, and consumers living with disabilities who reply on landline phone service.

As you know, millions of people and businesses, not to mention critical US government operations, across the nation rely on legacy landline phone service. Individuals in rural America, particularly those living where cell phone service is poor, utilize these landlines to conduct business, reach emergency responders, and stay in touch with loved ones. Households and businesses in our states, and across the country, cannot afford the disruption of having service altered without adequate advance notice, the assurance that an equivalent replacement exists and a clear understanding of how to obtain and use the replacement.

Furthermore, this order would affect more than landline phone service. Alarm systems, fax machines, and medical monitoring devices frequently depend on access to landline services. DSL broadband service also relies on landline phone service. If phone lines are not maintained, all of these services could be put in jeopardy. We need a reliable service standard in place to ensure that services people depend on will continue to work, and that rural Americans will not be left behind during this technology upgrade, furthering the digital divide.

Signed by:

  • Margaret Wood Hassan
  • Charles Schumer
  • Jeanne Shaheen
  • Catherine Cortez Masto
  • Al Franken
  • Tammy Duckworth
  • Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Tammy Baldwin
  • Richard Durbin
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Gary Peters
  • Bernard Sanders
  • Amy Klobuchar
This entry was posted in FCC, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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