SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), co-chairman of the California Technology and Innovation Caucus, today introduced legislation that will enable a state policy to promote broader access to internet-based telecommunications services and help the state meet its carbon reduction goals.
"California telecommunications law established in the 1950's needs to be modernized so our state can continue to be the world's innovation leader as well as the pioneer in addressing climate change," said Low. "This legislation establishes a state policy for a clearly communicated, planned and orderly transition from the last vestiges of the outdated, and carbon unfriendly plain-old-telephone-service (POTS) network to modern, fiber-optic networks and services."
Assembly Bill 2395 specifically:
- Provides a roadmap for the transition from the POTS network to advanced IP-based communications services no sooner than 2020;
- Requires telecommunications providers that elect to transition their networks to educate consumers with an outreach program that includes a description of the environmental benefits of the transition;
- Requires transitioning providers to certify that alternative services are available;
- Requires that "alternative services" meet FCC standards;
- Requires confirmation of alternative services by the California Public Utilities Commission;
- Provides that in areas where alternative services are not yet available, existing services will be maintained.
"It's essential that we embrace this technology that so many other states already have, because right now we have a 21st Century economy operating on a 20th Century IT network," Low said.
"California seniors are moving away from outdated, plain-old-telephone voice-only networks to IP-based technologies that connect them to anyone, anywhere, on any device – that includes using new technologies that provide access to telemedicine and video conferencing with family across the country," said Gary Passmore, Vice President Congress of California Seniors. "But we need to make sure we don't leave any older Californians behind. We need to work to make sure we modernize regulations so that older Californians don't get stuck on 'the Island of POTs.'"
Most Californians have already made the transition to IP-enabled wireline and mobile technologies. Since 1999, there has been an 85 percent decline in the number of California homes using traditional landlines. Less than one in ten residential voice lines are now traditional plain-old-telephone lines.
The bill will have its first hearing on Wednesday, April 13th.
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SOURCE Assemblymember Evan Low