For Most California Consumers, Landlines Trump Cell Phones

A new survey of California consumers reveals that landlines are still the primary phones for the majority in the state, and that consumers continue to rely on basic local service for most of their essential calls.

For Immediate Release From The Utility Reform Network

A new survey of California consumers reveals that landlines are still the primary phones for the majority in the state, and that consumers continue to rely on basic local service for most of their essential calls. The survey, conducted by Lake Research Associates and commissioned by TURN, The Utility Reform Network, shows that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is on the wrong track in gutting basic protections that keep phone service affordable and accessible. TURN has been urging the Commission to gather information on Californians phone usage before making changes in current universal service guarantees.

A huge majority of consumers, 74%, use landlines for local calling and emergency services. Despite statewide reliance on landline phones, the CPUC is considering eliminating guarantees of affordable basic service under the guise of “competition” from cell phones, VOIP, and other technologies. The survey shows that nothing is serving California consumers as well as basic local service.

“Consumers depend on landlines, rather than cell phones, for essential calls and for emergency situations,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. “For example, 96% of consumers believe it is very important to have direct access to local 911 services that only landlines provide. And 77% rate free local business directories, currently included with basic service, as important.”

Based upon the survey results, TURN is demanding that lawmakers hold the CPUC accountable for eliminating guarantees of universal phone service. “California has had a commitment to affordable basic service, and it is a commitment that the voters think is important,” Toney said. “TURN is calling on the Legislature to answer the call from consumers and act to preserve affordable, basic phone services before the CPUC gives away the store.”