On November 16, 2017, the FCC adopted an Order rolling back consumer protections in connection with the retirement of copper lines and the discontinuance of traditional telephone services. The FCC took this action even though the alarm industry, consumer advocates and members of Congress objected that the actions could lead to consumers losing their telephone service and could adversely impact alarm service.
The FCC’s Order:
- eliminates notice to customers when copper facilities will be retired;
- allows local exchange carriers (LECs), apparently, to notify some customers of upcoming network changes and copper retirements;
- reduces the notice that must be provided to interconnecting carriers;
- allows LECs to discontinue low speed services on an expedited basis;
- appears to allow LECs to discontinue service even if there is not a replacement service that is as good as the discontinued service.
The FCC also adopted a Further Notice seeking comment on whether a single interconnected VoIP service (without any service quality or other requirements) should enable streamlined discontinuance of legacy voice service. It also seeks comment on whether the FCC should streamline discontinuances for higher-speed data services.
As TMA’s Alarm Industry Communications Committee reviews the Order, TMA members should record and report to TMA (email@example.com) if they have experienced an increase in the number of alarm signals that do not go through; the area where there are problems; the cause of the problem; and, if known, whether there is a copper retirement in the area where it occurs.
A more detailed analysis of the Order and Further Notice will be provided soon.