(Reuters) – The guarantee of landline telephone service at almost any address, a legal right many Americans may not even know they have, is quietly being legislated away in our U.S. state capitals.

AT&T and Verizon, the dominant telephone companies, want to end their 99-year-old universal service obligation known as “provider of last resort.” They say universal landline service is a costly and unfair anachronism that is no longer justified because of a competitive market for voice services.

The new rules AT&T and Verizon drafted would enhance profits by letting them serve only the customers they want. Their focus, and that of smaller phone companies that have the same universal service obligation, is on well-populated areas where people can afford profitable packages that combine telephone, Internet and cable television.

Sprint, T-Mobile and the cell phone divisions of AT&T and Verizon are not subject to universal service and can serve only those areas they find profitable.

Unless the new rules are written very carefully, millions of people, urban and rural, will lose basic telephone service or be forced to pay much more for calls.

One thought on “‘Unfair’

  1. AT&T and Verizon have a near monopoly in this ‘free market’. 99 years ago our lawmakers were aware that ‘free markets’ were an illusion propagandized into existence by the corrupt, and believed in by the delusional. The whole point of ‘free market’ Capitalism is to create a monopoly. To be the only guy or gal producing what everyone wants to buy. That’s why Steve Jobs set up a monopolistic delivery system for his products. He allowed only one (1) company to sell his devices. As Chuck Colson famously said, “When you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” There are not now, nor have there ever been ‘free markets’.

Comments are closed.