Colorado House of Representatives Battling AARP Over VoIP Bills
April 15, 2014
By Oliver VanDervoort
, Contributing Writer
The popularity of softswitches and VoIP-based phones in the business world is starting to bleed over into the residential world. A set of five bills that are making their way through the Colorado House of Representatives could continue that push. The bills, which are being supported by Democrats and Republicans in the House, are geared towards streamlining, permitting, construction, maintenance, and operation of cell towers, fiber optic lines and infrastructure while also working with deregulating VoIP and other advanced telephone services.
While there seems to be almost universal support in the House for the bills, there is staunch support from outside the chamber from an enemy that has some puzzled. The AARP has taken very definitive opposition to the bills, because the organization claims the measures would deprive older citizens of their landline phones.
The organization sent out flyers geared towards turning lawmakers against the bills. “Two-thirds of those aged 65 and over rely on their landline phone service,” the flyer said. “Nearly 1.6 million Coloradans of all ages have landlines.” While there have been people who have been nervous about advanced phone systems such as VoIP and softswitch.
The problem with this particular opposition is that the introducer of the bills says there is no intent of getting rid of people’s landlines. Representative Angela Williams, the sponsor of the package voiced her displeasure at the tactics AARP is using.
“It’s disappointing that this misinformation is being spread,” Williams said. “All of this could have been prevented with a conversation.” While some of the bills will work to roll out more advanced phone systems, especially VoIP, there are also provisions that will help current phone networks get updated so they can still operate. Some of these updates have been needed for more than two decades.
As with most technology, when the newest kind starts to gain serious ground on the more traditional version, there tends to be a certain amount of opposition from those who are used to the more traditional tech. Sooner or later those backers will need to adjust in order keep up with the times.
Edited by Alisen Downey