Nina Beety: AT&T is Stealing our Landlines

By Nina Beety, Guest Commentary

The public paid for America’s sturdy, reliable and essential copperline landline infrastructure through rates and tax-subsidized incentive programs. But AT&T wants to eliminate copperline service. Most Californians don’t know this. “Dependable” is not in vogue, and AT&T no longer wants to service this system. It claims it must make way for new technology, and that this service is no longer essential or economical for them to continue, despite AT&T’s huge profit last year.

Tell that to Californians who live in rural areas, are older, have medical devices, are disabled, or are low income. They rely on this service. “Traditional landline phone service remains the backbone and only reliable two-way communication mode,” says the Rural County Representatives of California.

Many states have allowed AT&T and other companies to disconnect, despite opposition by the public and organizations like AARP. Illinois just approved landline elimination. Michigan did so in 2014. Last year, California Assemblymember Low sponsored AB 2395 to disconnect copperline landlines by 2020, but vocal opposition, including from rural counties, stopped it.

The California Alliance of Retired Persons says: “AB2395 would leave California consumers without essential public safety protections. Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services do not provide line power during an electrical outage. … The FCC’s rules have serious gaps: batteries must only provide a minimum of eight hours (24 hours after 2019); it is up to customers, not the provider, to purchase the battery at their own expense; and notification need only be at the point of sale.”

AT&T is trying several work-arounds. The first is FCC WC Docket No. 17-84. The FCC will likely preempt “wayward” states that want to retain copperline for their residents and adopt measures to speed up destruction of the copperline system. AT&T’s second move was to send notices to AT&T customers this month, notifying them that they agree to any and all changes to their telephone service and the installation of any and all equipment on their premises that AT&T wants to do, including installing equipment that uses electrical power. “If you do not allow AT&T to install the new network equipment at your premises, your telephone service may be disconnected …” Any customer who doesn’t accept the terms must call AT&T to cancel their service.” This becomes effective July 1.

Yet, the CPUC and TURN told me last week that AT&T has not been approved to abandon copperline.

AT&T plans to use broadband over powerline — a dangerous system that puts the microwave signal directly on powerlines, where it travels along all wiring and onto household wiring. It broadcasts microwave radiation everywhere and cannot be blocked. It was vehemently opposed by physicians in Austria and Switzerland when it was mandated there for Smart Meter communication, saying it would cause widespread health problems.

AT&T is also pushing Senate Bill 649, which effectively turns most utility poles in a community into cell towers. Cities and counties have to approve them, even in residential neighborhoods. SB 649 has been approved by the Senate and now faces the Assembly.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors said last year, “Don’t take away the most reliable way to reach 911 in an emergency. 911 dispatch centers automatically know our location when we call from home. Our home phone lines will keep working for weeks if there is a power outage. Wireless signals can be unreliable when we need our phones the most. Don’t let vulnerable people be left without reliable phone service.”

In power outages and in disasters, copperline landlines are a lifeline. Contact your state and federal officials and the CPUC. Stop AT&T from destroying this vital infrastructure.

Nina Beety lives in Monterey and runs the Smart Meter Harm website. This column first appeared in the Monterey Herald.

Posted in California, CPUC, Democracy, health effects, landlines, legal issues, neighborhood organizing | Comments Off on Nina Beety: AT&T is Stealing our Landlines

AT&T Wants to Replace Your Landline with a Cell Tower- Seriously

Many AT&T customers have recently received the above notice in their monthly bills. The notice threatens to disconnect your service unless you allow “network equipment ” (likely wireless transmitters) to be installed on your home though AT&T have been vague and (falsely) reassuring to most people who have called them in complaint.  These passages from the notice are particularly alarming:

“If you do not allow AT&T to install the new network equipment at your premises, your telephone service may be disconnected…”

“If you do not agree with the terms of the amendments call us at 800 288 2020 to cancel your service.   If you don’t cancel your service it means you accept the terms of these amendments.”

Take Action now to defend our reliable, safer landline services. Send your complaint to the California Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs Branch (or the utility regulator in your state) either by phone or by mail. Or both. Tell them there was no public notice or consultation and you demand hearings.

Californians contact:

CPUC Consumer Affairs
Formal Complaints
505 So. Van Ness
San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: 415-703-2074 (Many prompts to click through…please choose 1, 2, 1, 4, 0 and then you’ll get a person to make your complaint to. Insist a written complaint be taken (open until 4:30pm). Here’s the link to the Formal Complaint form.

Talking Points:

• The flyer enclosed in the May bill is 1) misleading, 2) threatening and 3) coercing
• You feel you have no choice and have not been given enough time or information.

You can also contact the Commissioners, whose job it is to protect us against utility coercion and disinformation.

Clifford Rechtschaffen: 415-703-1840
Martha Guzman Aceves: 415-703-2971
Carla Peterman: 415-703-1407
President Michael Picker: 415-703-2444
Liane Randolph: 415-703-2156

Now is the time for those who depend on their landlines and refuse to be exposed to RF- simply for a voice connection-  to show up at CPUC meetings and speak out. Anyone can speak on any topic in open comments before the scheduled agenda.

Upcoming CPUC Meetings:

  • June 15 – Sacramento
  • June 29 – San Francisco
  • July 13 – San Francisco
  • Aug. 10 – San Francisco
  • Aug. 24 – San Francisco
  • Sept. 14 – San Francisco

Purchase a safer analog landline phone from the SSM! Store (they work even when the power goes out unlike the alternatives AT&T wants to force on us)

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Wireless Public Health Warning Cards en Español

Stop Smart Meters! is excited to announce the publication of our popular Public Health Awareness cards en Español, in order to more effectively reach out internationally and to the more than 40 million Spanish speakers in the United States.

The cards are available in our online store for $9.95 for a 50-pack including shipping within the US (please ask about bulk discounts). You can also purchase the English version of the card, brochures, sale price EMF meters and more. ¡Gracias por ayudarnos a sacar el mensaje! (Thank you for getting the word out to the people!)

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CA State Senate Approves SB 649

Update 6/1/17: SB 649 was passed by the State Senate on May 31st 2017. It goes next to Assembly committees and possibly on to the Assembly floor. Detailed information/ updates about the bill hereContact Your CA State Assemblymember Today- Say NO on SB 649.

I was interviewed by Public News Service reporter Suzanne Potter regarding the campaign against #SB649,the California bill that would force potentially millions of small-cell, high frequency antennas onto street poles, including on residential streets. You can read the article and listen to the segment here.

Also, be sure to read one physician’s perspective on why putting 5G antennas everywhere may be a very bad idea: Vice President of Community Health for Santa Clara County Medical Assn. Cindy Russell: A 5G Wireless Future: Will it Give us a Smart Nation or Contribute to an Unhealthy One?

Posted in California, Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity, health effects, Marin County, radio-frequency radiation, Sacramento, Safety, Santa Cruz County, Smart Grid | Comments Off on CA State Senate Approves SB 649

“Smart Attack”

Posted in Citizen rebellion, Smart Grid, U.K. | Comments Off on “Smart Attack”