Oak Park’s elderly population will be affected by a recent FCC decision that approves deregulation (https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-grants-relief-outdated-burdensome-phone-industry-regulations), allowing telecom companies to replace copper wire landline phone service with internet-based phone service.
According to the FCC order, the existence of landline service is preventing us from transitioning to the next generation of communication technology because it requires expensive infrastructure maintenance. However, this decision will negatively impact the 1.6 million seniors in Illinois (https://www.communityphone.org/landline/il#landline-usage-statistics) who still rely on landline service, including my parents. They struggle to use their cellphone, and their internet connection is often unreliable.
It is irresponsible for the FCC to prioritize telecom giants’ profits over the needs of rural communities, senior and elderly folks, and places with poor internet connectivity. How can we tie the primary means of communication of these groups to something as unreliable as an internet connection? They would lose internet connectivity completely if the power went out.
If the federal government does not protect the interests of vulnerable groups, it is the responsibility of the Illinois state legislature to step in and advocate for them. They must ensure that no one is left behind in this so-called “upgrade.”