Iowa Utilities Board deregulates land-line phone service

DES MOINES — More and more Iowans are getting rid of their “land lines” and the Iowa Utilities Board has issued an order that deregulates that original form of phone service.

The Iowa Utilities Board decision means it will no longer require telephone companies to offer land-line service statewide. Most state standards for the quality and customer service provided to Iowans who still have a land-line are being shelved. State regulators say there’s effective competition for phone service now from mobile wireless, internet and cable providers.

The director of the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate says wifi and cellular service is unable available in some areas of the state and the switch may harm elderly and rural Iowans.

According to the latest data from 2015, nearly 55 percent of Iowans lived in a “cell phone only” household. The analysis indicates about four-and-a-half percent of the households in Iowa were land-line only two years ago, and it’s likely even lower today.

Iowans with land-line service may continue to file customer service complaints with the Iowa Utilities Board about dropped calls and problems connecting.

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