AT&T to cease local telephone service in Pennsylvania
BY DEBRA PALMIERI
Thanks to a loyal reader, Dale Clauser, of Upper Macungie Township, the Parkland Press has become aware of plans by AT&T to “abandon local service” in Pennsylvania.
For many who have already removed landlines from their homes, this notice by AT&T and the state Public Utility Commission is of no concern.
Smartphones have already become their relied-upon method of communicating.
For others - senior citizens, those without a computer or the Internet in their homes and, like this reporter, the need for a fax machine (Yes, I know I could scan and then email documents), and concerns about calling 9-1-1, a landline is considered a necessity.
As early as 2013, Phillip Dampier on the Web page, “Stop the Cap!”, wrote:
“AT&T and Verizon - two of America’s direct descendants of the Bell System, just don’t want to pay to keep up a network most of urban America doesn’t seem to want or need anymore. ... AT&T is more direct: It wants to switch off all of its landline service, everywhere, by 2020. ...
“‘Verizon prefers a “gradual phaseout.’” according to Tom Maguire, Verizon’s senior vice president of operations support.”
Well, 2020 ended three months ago, and according to a letter dated Jan. 25, 2021, which was mailed to Clauser, as of May 3, 2021, pending regulatory approval (Pa. PUC) “AT&T will no longer provide your local telephone service in Pennsylvania and you must take action.”
“An older person may not have opened the envelope,” Clauser told The Press. “If they don’t act, they will be without phone service.
“I feel bad about the people who may not have the ability to make the change.”
The letter advises customers they can choose the provider of their local telephone service, which AT&T suggests they do before April 19.
There is also a phone number for AT&T customers to call if they have questions: 800-250-8949.
The Pennsylvania PUC web page, listed under “Local Service Abandonment Notification” states “Commission regulations at 52 Pa Code Chapter 63.308 require that the commission post information on its website of impending abandonments of local service providers in Pennsylvania.
The web page provides contact information for AT&T, and the Pa. PUC.
Anyone with questions about AT&T abandonment of local service in Pennsylvania may call James Archer at 908-901-2718.
The PUC contact person is Theresa Mingarell at 717-783-3232.
Additional information is also available at google.com/search?q=landline+phone+service+end+of+service.+no+longer+maintaining+cooer+wire&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari.
Regarding the story on AT&T abandoning local service in Pennsylvania, (Parkland Press, March 25, 2021) Dale Ingram, AT&T Corporate Communications, asked that the following media statement provide an update to the story:
“We will no longer resell local telephone service in Pennsylvania.
“This will affect a very small number of our customers. Other providers like Verizon are available for customers who wish to maintain local voice service.
“If customers want wireless from AT&T and want to keep the same home phone number, we can help them do that.
“From 2017 to 2019, we invested more than $850 million in our network in Pennsylvania.”
A thank-you goes to Mr. Ingram for contacting The Press with the update.