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CWA members oppose AT&T’s attempts to stop serving rural and low-income communities in California

CWA members are joining thousands of concerned Californians by speaking out against AT&T’s attempt to end its Carrier of Last Resort (COLR) obligation and Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) designation in California.

The California Public Service Commission (CPUC) currently requires AT&T to respond to every reasonable request for landline service in its statewide service territory and to offer federal and California LifeLine to make services more affordable for low-income households. 

“Last month, we were reminded of the continued importance of landline telephone service when AT&T’s wireless network suffered an hours-long nationwide disruption,” said CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce. CWA members know that for many Californians, especially our elderly and rural residents, landline service remains the most reliable option. We urge the California Public Utilities Commission to demonstrate its continued commitment to ensuring every Californian has access to affordable, reliable telecommunications service by rejecting AT&T’s attempt to cut service to our most vulnerable residents.”

If the CPUC grants AT&T’s request, many areas of California could be without a voice service provider within six months. According to an analysis by The Utility Reform Network (TURN), low-income households may expect a 200 percent increase or more on their monthly phone bill. Such a reduction in service would also put technician and customer service support jobs at risk.  For some Californians, landline services are the only safe, affordable, and reliable phone service. Landlines can be more reliable than cell phones for emergencies and disasters, especially during a power outage.


CWA members oppose AT&T’s attempts to stop serving rural and low-income communities in California (CWA, Feb. 22, 2024)

CWA explainer on AT&T COLR application (CWA, Feb. 2024)

California residents concerned about AT&T request to phase out landline service (Broadband Breakfast, Feb. 26, 2024)