Tennessee bill would end telephone landline subsidy

On February 25, 2013, in News 2013, by Mark Norris

By Andy Sher, KnoxNews.com 
February 25, 2013

NASHVILLE — An estimated 93,000 low-income Tennessee households would lose a $3.50 monthly subsidy on their landline telephones under an AT&T-backed bill moving in the General Assembly.

The legislation seeks to eliminate the state’s Lifeline program, but would not affect an identically named federal program.

“It’s a bill that AT&T brought to me,” said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, the bill’s House sponsor. “It will keep them from forcing them to [fund] that. Poor people don’t want landlines any more with copper wires on it. They all have cellphones now.”

The Senate bill is sponsored by Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville. Both bills are moving even while the state’s telecommunications regulator, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, continues to ponder similar changes requested last year by an AT&T-led coalition of telecommunications companies.

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