State Senator Mike Nofs of Battle Creek is chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee he is the sponsor of the bill.
Nofs told WMUK's Gordon Evans that the phone companies want to change the hardware so it can offer phone, internet and cable service over the same infrastructure. He compares it to the change in television service. Nofs says the next three years will be a transitional period for the phone companies and others to prepare for a change from analog to digital service.
The bill was amended to provide some safeguards. Nofs says customers will have to be notified in their bills that the company wants to end the landline service. There will be an appeals process through the Michigan Public Service Commission to require the continuation of landline service if there are no other providers.
Concerns have been raised about the bill by the American Association of Retired Persons (Detroit Free Press story) and local exchange providers (MLive story). Those providers pay AT&T a fee to gain access to the phone company's lines. Nofs says the state doesn't regulate those agreements between companies. He says the legislation should not change those agreements or how they are regulated by the federal government.