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Wireless Lifeline: Real or Phony

Update: 11/29 It looks like a compromise proposal is in the works. Comments at the meeting looked very encouraging for consumer protections and a meaningful definition of basic service.

The PUC will be debating wireless service for low-income Californians on 11/29 at 8:30am at 505 Van Ness Avenue.

We need you to come to make sure that lifeline services really are a lifeline and not just a bad joke.

PUC Chair Michael Peevey, who is notorious for his close ties to energy companies, is putting forward a proposal to redefine basic telephone service for wireless services in ways that just won't work. Among them: no requirement for wireless service inside the residence - which is where many people talk on the phone, especially the elderly and disabled and where emergency calls are most likely to come from - and no guaranteed 911 service to local emergency services, like police and firemen, substituting large statewide agencies like the California Highway Patrol.

Commissioner Florio has a sensible proposal on the table that would ensure that lifeline service really is a *lifeline* but we need people to come talk about their real needs for telephone service to ensure the right proposal passes the commission.

Giant telecom corporations should not receive subsidies for providing services that don't work.

The PUC is a big bureaucratic entity, so you need to check in by 8:30am for public comment (yeah, we know), but it's important that they hear from real people about how they use their phones. No technology jargon required: just the need to have wireless services work like real phone: in your house and connecting you with police, fire, ambulance and friends and family in a time of need.