Does your Michigan business have a landline? Senate Bill 636 passed by the Michigan Senate and Governor Rick Snyder back in 2014 may change that.
Southwestern Michigan IT and telephone service provider, Tom Martinez of tca SynerTech shares insights into how Senate Bill 636 may impact local companies.
The End of an Era: Say Goodbye to the Landline
Most people over the age of 20 remember having a landline phone in their home quite well. Likewise, if you wanted to reach a business of any kind — whether it was across the country or on the other side of the world — you called their landline number. If you owned a business, your landline phone number was on everything from your transportation vehicles to your fountain pens.
Today, things are different in that most homes have long moved on from having landlines. Still, many businesses have retained theirs.
But all that’s about to change in states like Michigan.
As of 2020, Michigan Senate Bill 636 has come into full effect. This bill represents major legislation that makes it possible for a communications company to end landline (or analog) phone service in a given area.
In 2014, communications company AT&T championed a bill written by MI-R Senator Mike Nofs. This bill — Senate Bill 636 — petitioned the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to allow communications companies to shut down landline or analog service in certain areas of the state. Why? It’s widely known that for several decades, landlines have been on the decline; however, companies like AT&T have continued to pay the same amount to upkeep those lines. Naturally, when only a few customers are using the infrastructure, this means that AT&T and others are hemorrhaging money.
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AT&T and Senator Nofs contended that Bill 636 would allow communications companies to put their funds elsewhere — in more updated and useful communications infrastructures.
The Michigan Senate passed Bill 636, and it was later signed into effect by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in 2014. Since that time, the wheels have been in motion. According to the bill, steps toward ultimately shutting down the analog phone network were to begin in January of 2017. At that time, the anticipated completion date was December 2020.
How Does Senate Bill 636 Affect Your Business?
December of 2020 is nearly here, which means that if your business has a landline phone, you’ll need to start taking steps now to ensure your continued communications at that time.
While it is not inevitable that your landline will be shut down immediately in December of 2020, you should plan for it. The bill states that a company only needs to give you 30 to 60 days warning before ending service. Of course, they also must make sure that at least one or two companies provide the same service in your area and that your area has access to calling 911 services.
If your business has a landline (also known as POTS lines), you have several options.
First, know that your choice of action should not be to do anything. If your landlines are shut off, you can lose access to your phones, fax machines, credit card readers, modems, and more!
Therefore, as a precaution, start looking into landline alternatives now.
Speak With Your MSP About Switching to a Landline Phone Alternative
Having a phone line for your business is important, and you don’t want to go a day without service. Still, today’s communication methods can be confusing if you’re not a tech specialist. For this reason, in order to switch your landline service to a more updated service before Bill 636 takes full effect, it’s important to speak with your managed service provider.
Your MSP can help you decide between converting to VoIP, moving to a cloud-based telephone system such as SureTel, or implementing another better technology for your business’s voice communications.
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