Carrier of last resort (COLR)–a term that so many of us with a background in the traditional telephone world know well–is the obligation that every American home should have access to a phone, along with other utilities such as water or electricity. Four states have recently changed their laws on COLR obligations to release telephone companies from this requirement. The Washington Post last week highlighted the effort underway to release carriers from these obligations at the state level and shed light on the public safety implications of no carrier having COLR obligations and the implication for rural residents, the elderly and others. Even AARP noted that “…for many, landlines are their lifeline…” and that “…in rural areas, wireless service can be spotty or expensive and not at all a real option.”
It really struck me, reading the article, how the large carriers are using the argument that termination of this service is being driven by consumer choice and how that is simply untrue. Americans should still have access to the basic communications service of their choice. NTCA members have been diligent in offering their customers reliable and affordable service and remain committed to serving their customers, those same customers that the larger companies want to leave behind.