From the Chairperson (February 2024)
Members of LNRW,
I have been delinquent in publishing “From the Chairperson” the last couple of months, my intent is to publish once a month, and I have not met that goal. I will try to do better, starting with this month’s entry.
We have a crisis that has the potential to disrupt the LNRW mode of operation. I’m talking about AT&T removing its support for being the “Common Carrier of Last Resort”. Essentially, this means AT&T will no longer offer land-line services in many rural areas in California. That includes potentially, the Lockwood Fire District.
Your response may be, “Do we care? Don’t we have radios and repeaters to mitigate the loss of other means of communications?”
I would answer, “yes” except our mode of operation does not preclude the use of the phone either for Safety-Nets or LNRW administrative business. We do not rely solely on the GMRS radios, and we frequently communicate via the phone for planning and scheduling. This also doesn’t say anything about the potential to lose our internet services. DSL after all, uses telephone landlines. And for those of us that also do not have cellular coverage, this makes the situation even worse by eliminating all phone services.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest the AT&T is not being driven by greed, ineptitude, laziness, or any other ‘evil’ one could put in this sentence. I would suggest, they are making a decision to retire older technology because the newer cellular technology is cheaper and more reliable. I would suggest however, that AT&T is not taking all of their customers’ needs and requirements into account. They have forgotten that there are those of us that need a landline because the cellular service does not reach us.
That calls on us to reach out to AT&T, and let them know that their decision to eliminate landline services puts its customers at risk.
I stand by the idea, that it is not my job as Chairperson of LNRW, to get all of you riled up unnecessarily. This may or may not be one of those cases. I was motivated by what I read online to write the top part of this blog. I have since, about a day later, looked at the documentation provided in the link above by the California Public Utilities Commission. The on-line map that is provided in the link shows that Lockwood Fire District is NOT identified as an area where land line service would be discontinued. However, the map is including places such as Fiddletown, Plymouth, Drytown, Amador City, Sutter Creek, Jackson, and other points west and south. Please consider letting your opinion to be known, because in the future the map may be re-drawn.
It's a lot like watching for fires. Change can move across the map very quickly.