So Long Landline? Senate Bill Could Cut the Cord

CLEVELAND — Landline telephones could soon be a thing of the past in parts of Ohio if a senate bill passes.

“I would not like it too much. I think landlines are important and I have to make a lot of long distance calls,” said Jerry Viola.

Senate Bill 271 would allow telephone companies to get out of the landline business and focus on wireless technology.

“I used to have a landline as a kid, but right now I’m always on the go and paying for a home phone would just be pointless,” said Cheyenne Thomas, a cell phone user.

In a statement, the Ohio Telecom Association, which supports the bill, said in part, “Proponents say the change would free phone companies from outdated regulations that require access to basic phone service.”

That would allow phone companies to save money on the upkeep of landlines and put more money into wireless technology.

But groups opposed to the bill, such as the AARP, say it’s far too soon to get rid of landlines — cell coverage is still spotty in areas, and that could leave many people without reliable phone service.

911 operators cannot trace an exact address from a cell phone like they can a landline — which opponents to the bill say could lead to disaster if the victim who dialed is unable to speak.

Most Ohioans have a landline.

A federal study in 2011 shows only about one-fourth of Ohio homes have ditched their landline and opted for cell phones only.

If the bill passes, a large number of Ohio landlines will no doubt be disconnected.