ELLEN SOMSEL: Franz’s vote on landline bill shows his true intentions


I was dismayed to read that state Rep. Ray Franz voted for the Landline Elimination Bill (Senate bill 363) and that Gov.Rick Snyder signed it into law in March. The bill allows phone companies to discontinue reliable copper-wire landline telephone service and force consumers to use untested VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones or unreliable cell phones.

A column, “Clearing the static,” in the┬áMach 4 edition of the┬áManistee News Advocate, Franz claimed the bill was not about “removing landline telephone service.” But that is exactly what the bill does. It allows phone companies to eliminate traditional landline phone service with only 90 days notice. That is why the Michigan AARP and law enforcement organizations such as the Michigan sheriff’s association and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the bill saying it “puts reliable phone service at risk for all Michigan consumers.” They believe that law is a threat to the lives of Michigan residents because VOIP phones fail during a power outage, cell phone batteries run out and cell phone signals are spotty in many areas of Franz’s district. That leaves people unable to call 911 during a medical or safety emergency.

I know many seniors who rely on landlines and don’t ever want to be in a situation where they cannot call 911 if needing a police officer, a firefighter or an EMT.

As would be expected Rep. Franz chose the desires of wealthy and powerful phone corporations over a basic need of seniors and rural families when he voted for this dreadful bill. His record shows a consistent support for business interests over us ordinary citizens who bear the brunt of these decisions.

Where are the jobs that these businesses were going to provide? Michigan rates lower and lower on many scales these days. I am still waiting for all the promised economic benefits.

Ellen Somsel


3 comments on “ELLEN SOMSEL: Franz’s vote on landline bill shows his true intentions

  1. avatarmanimi

    I was part of Franz’s phone meeting a few weeks ago, he said over and over that land line phones would not be phased out. There was also a rep from AT and T…he was there to sell his product, AT and T cell phones.
    Many people expressed concerns about poor or no cell phone service in their areas, he just kept saying they would be able to keep their land line phones. Time will tell.

  2. avatarmichmark

    Here is a pretty good article that explains the bill. Land line companies will be able to pull service. A consumer may request that the Michigan Public Service Commission investigate what alternative services exist. If none do, the phone company could be required to maintain service, but it would not have to be a land line. As with almost all legislation these days, this was written by the phone companies with their interests in mind, and introduced by the state legislatures on their behalf. Here is the article: www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/03/controversial_landline_telepho.html

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