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California Public Utilities Commission denies AT&T bid to end landline service, how people in South Monterey County are reacting

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) - The California Public Utilities Commission is not letting a major carrier off the preverbal “hook.”

For Beth Winters, her landline is her lifeline. She has been living in Bryson for over 20 years, a rural area in Southern Monterey County with very little to no service.

That area, listed in the AT&T map where landline services were going to get cut if the California Public Utilities Commission allowed it.

Beth remembers the time she had to evacuate her home in 2016 because of a nearby fire.

The only way she knew was through her landline. Although she has wifi, she says it's worthless when the power gets shut off.

Which unfortunately is a common occurrence and can go on for days at a time.

"We had neighbors coming to use our landline because their cell phones just simply didn't work. And that went on for days," said Winters.

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission rejected the AT&T application to stop providing landlines in areas like Bryson where there is no other form of communication.

A huge relief for Beth and her neighbors.

"We had one neighbor whose wife is an invalid that needs to at any moment be able to take his wife to town or get ahold of a doctor or change a prescription." his only relief was in knowing that he could drive up to our house and use our landline," said Winters.

That neighbor, Edward Pierce recalls that moment, and many more he's come to Beth for her landline.

"I can't leave the house without somebody being there. I depend on my neighbors a great deal just to check on my wife for me. If I have to do business in town or whatever, I important stuff. And so I'm grounded because of that," said Pierce.

Now, they are happy AT&T won't pull the plug on this vital service.

"I would have to say it's damn important. Now I know what my neighbors and I know, and I've discussed this with them and they're a lot like me. I have a handicapped wife that I can't leave alone without phone contact to her."

Where I am at in Bryson I have no service so in case of an emergency, I would have to run into Beth to use her landline.

More than 5-thousand people left public comments in response to at&ts application according to Cal Matters.

This would have also affected areas in Big Sur and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.


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