Senate Bill 271 would allow providers to cut basic service in an area if there are two other telecommunication services available, such as wireless or voice-over-internet protocol.
Coordinator for the Rural Broadband Policy Group, Edyael Casaperalta, says cell phones are inadequate for some needs, particularly for seniors who might have difficulty with a cell.
She says there's also the issue of expense – requiring the purchase of Internet plus phone could easily double a resident's phone bill.
An estimated one-million Ohio residents exclusively use a landline connection, many who live in rural areas or are senior citizens.
State director for A-A-R-P Ohio, Bill Sundermeyer, says besides preserving social contact, landlines phones are needed for health and safety.
He says some seniors use the phone line to transmit routine health information from equipment in their home to their doctor’s office.
Casaperalta says there should be no new telecommunication matters introduced until that committee is formed and a report is complete.
Senate Bill 271 has passed the Senate and is now under consideration in a House Committee.
Similar legislation has been attempted but rejected in other states, including Kentucky and New Jersey.