Thursday, February 6, 2014

If ATT Bill Passes, the Next Ice Storm Will Kill People

I was one of the tens of thousands of Kentuckians left without power by Tuesday's ice storm. But I don't live in Metro Louisville, where if you can't use your car you can still walk to a place where you can get help.

I live in the most rural part of a rural county.  Technically just a few miles from an interstate highway, but for all the use back roads are in a ice storm, the highway might was well be on the moon.

I lost electricity for just 13 hours, but that was more than enough time for my cell phone to lose power. I would have been stuck with no way to call for help - if I hadn't kept my old land line. My old AT&T landline.

Which the Kentucky state senate voted to let AT&T to take away from me. Voted just five days before the ice storm took out the power.

A bill that would further reduce state regulation of telephone service in Kentucky could speed through Senate committee and floor votes Thursday.
Senate Bill 99 is the newest version of what many at the state Capitol call "the AT&T bill," because that company has played a key role in pushing the deregulation proposal for several years. Critics blocked it in the past, saying it could leave rural Kentuckians stranded without cheap and reliable land-line service while freeing the major phone companies to pursue more profitable high-tech customers.


Since 2011, AT&T's political action committee has given about $55,000 to state election campaigns in Kentucky, including $5,000 to the Senate Republican majority's chief fundraising committee and $5,000 more to the House Democratic majority's chief fundraising committee. The company spent $108,846 last year on legislative expenses related to its 22 Frankfort lobbyists.
The article fails to mention the biggest problem with eliminating landlines and forcing people to use cell phones: electricity service in the Commonwealth is extremely unreliable. Every time a puff of wind knocks a tree limb onto an overhead power line, power goes out to thousands of people for hours if not days. No electricity, no cell phones.

Not that the Kentucky General Assembly or the Public Service Commission, which have consistently refused to force utilities to bury power lines, gives a shit about citizens injured and dead from being unable to call for help.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm opposed to the AT&T bill for reasons other than those you on the left repeatedly cite, but there's nothing in the bill that would allow them to remove your landline service.

And they make neat little backup batteries for your cellphone that you can buy at Big Lots for $15 or on eBay for a lot cheaper than than. Invest in a couple of them, keep them charging all the time, and you won't have that problem with your cell phone battery running down.