February 27, 2024
  • Redwood City – The Board of Supervisors wants AT&T officials to provide documents and to testify in person regarding how its proposal to end landline service to thousands of customers who rely on AT&T as the Carrier of Last Resort will affect 911 and other key emergency services.

    Unfortunately, far too many residents in my district live in areas with unreliable or no cell service whatsoever,” said Supervisor Ray Mueller, whose 340-square-mile District 3 includes rural areas from Portola Valley to Pescadero and along the coast. “Cutting off landlines for these residents is, in effect, severing their lifelines to emergency services.

    Supervisors had been scheduled at their regular meeting today to consider issuing AT&T a subpoena to comply with their request for information. Instead, through a representative present at the meeting, AT&T agreed to meet in good faith with the County over the next two weeks to provide information from subject matter experts and documents identifying where residents would see landline service cut under a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as all areas where cellular coverage is lacking or where such service is unreliable.

    Supervisors also expect to learn where cell service has failed in past emergencies. AT&T agreed to send a representative to the Board of Supervisors’ next meeting to answer questions. If the consultation with AT&T proves unsatisfactory, the County retains the power to issue a subpoena to the telecommunications company. California law gives county Boards of Supervisors authority to issue subpoenas regarding matters within their jurisdiction.

    Mueller agreed to continue the matter for two weeks to give AT&T time to comply.

    “The County has an urgent need to hear from AT&T because they alone know exactly how many residents would be impacted, where those residents live and, importantly, if there is even cell service available in many of those areas,” Mueller.

    Currently, AT&T is a “Carrier of Last Resort” in certain areas of the state, meaning, among other things, the company provides basic services such as free access to 911 and Telephone Relay Service, which allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls.

    AT&T sent a letter to customers informing them that they may no longer provide landline services in certain service areas throughout California. A list and map posted on the CPUC  website appears to show that landline AT&T service in all of San Mateo County would be eliminated, save for areas near Coyote Point Recreation Area and parts of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Watershed.

    Media Contact

    Cassandra Matter
    Communications Director and Legislative Policy Aide
    Office of Supervisor Ray Mueller