Please Don’t Take Away My Landline!

Thousands of TURN members urged their legislators to reject AB 2395, and let them keep their landlines. Their advocacy was key to defeating the bill.  Here’s why one TURN member, Genevieve Fujimoto, joined the campaign.

“I think I can rely on copper lines,” said Genevieve Fujimoto,79, of San Francisco. Fujimoto talked passionately about her opposition to AB 2395, a bill that would eliminate the copper network in California by 2020. “You don’t just chuck something out because it is old. The old thing is not useless,” she said.

She sees value in other communication technologies, but she is wary of their long-term reliability and usefulness. “We can’t put all our eggs in one basket,” she said. She described the copper network as a good safety net to continue maintaining and using while exploring newer, less tested technology. “Copper lines are very durable,” she explained, “Americans really built good stuff.”

“It’s about choice,” she explained. She is very happy with her landline and wants to keep using it. “In 1989, when the earthquake occurred in this area the landlines were still in service. And I think a lot of the people who had begun to use cell phone found out that they were cut off,” she said, explaining her desire to continue using the copper network. “I think the service is likely to survive and continue. From the pictures I see on newscasts, the emergency services in town have landlines. If they have landlines, I want landlines,” she said. She knows that someday there may be no copper network, but she hopes “to be 6 feet under by then.”

“I’ve never had any trouble getting in touch with anybody on my landline,” she said. She is “really not impressed with the signal that the cell phone has.” With her landline, her connection is “instant.” She was also dissatisfied with the transmission quality of services other than copper: “It is as if there was a haze around the voice,” she said.

She uses her phone “for talking with my friends and family for the most part. […] It’s nice to be connected,” she said.

Fujimoto made it clear that it’s not just herself that she’s worried about. “People in rural areas are forgotten,” she explained. She says copper landlines are important because they “are so widespread” and “cheap enough that anybody can afford it.”

Fujimoto said telephones need more regulation, not less. Because of deregulation “there was just no way of stopping [her DSL] fees from going up.” She thinks this bill is disingenuous and is being put forward through “sheer greed of the companies” who want less regulation, more expensive services and fewer maintenance costs.