A California consumer advocate group says there are 120 AT&T lobbyists in Sacramento working to end universal landline telephone service obligations, according to a report by Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston.
According to Johnston's report, Americans currently have the legal right to landline telephone service at almost any address. It's part of a "99-year-old universal service obligation known as 'provider of last resort,'" states Johnston.
Johnston writes AT&T and Verizon claim providing universal landline service to certain areas are costly because of the "competitive market for voice services." So, the companies are drafting new rules that would allow them to only serve the customers they want.
There have been lobbyists working at many state capitals to end universal service, including California and Kentucky, writes Johnston. Universal service obligations have already been repealed in Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the report.
Johnston says ending universal landline service could have a major effect on our health and safety. In addition, he says this will impact Americans who can't afford cellphones, so they rely on landline service.