"Telephone lines being deregulated has been a hot topic in the security industry over the past few months. Using a standard telephone line creates an unnecessary risk in protecting your home and/or business." - Rick Seymour, CEO CSI Palm Beach
Seniors, for example, are most likely to be affected by the deregulation of land-line phones because they, more than other Floridians, remain tethered to the land lines and often rely on it for other services, including safety alerts, according to the AARP.
In a state of 18.1 million residents, 21 million cell phones are in use compared to 5.7 million traditional land lines. And just one in five Floridians still uses only a land line.
Of the land lines, only about 160,000 have only basic services. The rest have "bundled" packages, meaning their land lines are linked to other services like the internet or safety alerts.
Under the new law, telephone companies can increase rates and change access rules for customers without first getting approval from the state Public Service Commission would no longer have to approve rate increases and access to telephone services for customers. Instead, the commission's role would be to oversee disputes between competing companies.
The traditional telephone companies pushed the change because cellular telephone services are unregulated. They said the deregulation would make it easier for them to compete with wireless carriers.
Increases in telephone rates are expected and they come at a time when the elderly are struggling to cope with decreased property values, stagnant Social Security payments and the threat of losing some of their Medicare coverage, AARP of Florida spokesman Dave Bruns said.
"So this is no time for these people to have to face unlimited increases in their land line phone rates totally at the discretion of the telephone providers," said Bruns, who urged seniors to hold on to their telephone receipts to document rate hikes to legislators.
Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, was one of only four lawmakers who voted against the deregulation.
"I've got stories in my district office right now about people who have been sold bundled packages and it turned out to be a mess. Older people, especially, where they have a gadget that works with a life-line," Pafford said. "A lot of times when they lose their land line they lose their emergency alarm that contacts 911."
Call 561.848.7818 for a Free Wireless Communication System -$395.00 value at no cost when you renew or begin monitoring with CSI: Palm Beach. Offer Expires 9-30-11.
Besides the telephone deregulation, two other laws will help usher out fading icons of 20th century modernity. One deregulates requirements for television picture tubes, which are disappearing as the result of flat-screen technology, and the other repeals access and exit requirements for six outdoor theaters believed to be still operating in suburban Lake Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Dade City, Lakeland, Ruskin and Tampa.
"We recommend that clients mitigate this issue by opting for a cellular security line which will help control the cost factor and also allow remote access and control of your alarm system. Also keep in mind a cell line cannot be cut by an intruder and this adds significant peace of mind." Rick Seymour, CEO. CSI Palm Beach