The Mountain Messenger

AT&T Seeks to End Carrier of Last Resort Responsibility

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SIERRA COUNTY — Locals should have received a letter from AT&T in the last few weeks indicating the company’s request to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to be relieved of its obligation as the Carrier of Last Resort (COLR) in Sierra County. This possibility has significant implications for Sierra County and rural communities statewide, as AT&T intends to end service in all of California’s 58 counties, leaving no clear alternative.

A COLR is a telecommunications service provider of basic telephone service, commonly via landline, to any customer requesting such service within a specified area. At least one telephone company in any given location is legally required to provide access to telephone service to anyone in its service territory who requests it. AT&T is the designated COLR in most parts of the state and is the largest COLR in California. AT&T is now proposing to withdraw as the COLR without being replaced by a new carrier.

AT&T argues that its withdrawal would no...