I am writing in response to a recent editorial in the Portland Press Herald: “Our View: Don’t let FairPoint off the hook on universal landline access” (Jan. 29).

For many Mainers, having basic landline telephone service is of critical importance. It is alarming to hear that FairPoint seeks to discontinue providing what is essentially a lifeline to thousands of residents. The loss of this basic service will affect thousands of at-risk Mainers, many of whom are elderly or disabled.

Landline telephones have a purpose beyond the obvious. A lot of older residents use their basic landline service for medical reasons, such as monitoring their pacemakers or cardiac defibrillator implants. Imagine not being able to monitor your lifesaving device!

Another issue is that, particularly in rural communities, cellphone service is unreliable. Telling us to switch to cellular service makes no sense in a rural state like Maine.

At best, especially in the northern part of the state, cellphone service is inconsistent and is no replacement for a reliable, affordable landline telephone line.

Our Legislature needs to consider this issue carefully. Please contact your local legislators and ask them to consider the consequences of the loss of basic landline service in Maine. Please also sign the online petition at action.aarp.org/ saveourlandlines.

Deregulating basic landline telephone service for our most vulnerable residents is just not acceptable.

Erica Magnus

AARP outreach volunteer


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