AT&T proposal to end landlines suffers a setback

A California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge on Friday rejected a proposal by AT&T to end landline phone service in a large part of California including San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

AT&T wants customers to replace their landline phones will cellphones, but for many people that’s not an option because they don’t get a signal where they live.

AT&T said that landlines are becoming increasingly archaic and are difficult to maintain.

San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Mueller said AT&T’s proposal was dangerous.

“We will continue to advocate for all San Mateo County residents’ ability to choose landline service so that they can communicate when cellular service is unavailable, unreliable or down, especially in cases of emergency,” Mueller said in a statement.

The proposal, including the judge’s recommendation to reject it, will go to the California Public Utilities Commission on June 20. 

AT&T is considered a carrier of last resort, or COLR, which forces it to meet certain obligations such as landline service. AT&T wanted to withdraw as the COLR without a new carrier being designated as a COLR. 

The threat of eliminating landlines has become controversial. The CPUC said it received 5,000 public comments and more than 5,800 people attended three public forums.

AT&T’s proposal to drop landlines covers most of the Daily Post’s circulation area. Cities and communities include:

San Mateo County

Baywood Park
East Palo Alto
Emerald Lake Hills
Foster City
Menlo Park
North Fair Oaks
Portola Valley
San Carlos
San Mateo
West Menlo Park

Santa Clara County

Los Altos Hills
Los Altos
Mountain View
Palo Alto