Watch CBS News

For many Bay Area coastal town residents, landlines remain essential

For many Coastside residents, landlines are essential
For many Coastside residents, landlines are essential 04:14

Landlines may be a service of the past for many, but there are those in coastal communities in the Bay Area who continue to rely on them.

That includes Glen Eastman of Moss Beach. With cellular service in his area constantly being weak, he refers to his landline as his lifeline. 

According to PC Mag, Eastman's coastal neighborhood in nearby Montara has been voted as one of the worst cellular dead zones in the US.

Eastman says he is fed up.

He not only needs landlines for emergencies, but as a professional editor, he needs internet connection to do his job each day.

"When everything else goes bad in an emergency, or even if people don't have internet or a cell phone, you can always get 911 on a landline," Eastman explained.

But that back-up plan is changing. In response to an FCC order, AT&T and other providers will be phasing out landline services soon.

But with AT&T's nationwide cellular outage affecting thousands of customers Thursday, Eastman says it is a poignant reminder of the continued need for landlines.

"That familiar sound of dial tone everybody knows. It's been in existence for years and years and years," he said. "And it's truly our life line."

Eastman is disappointed in AT&T service and says people in his community feel forgotten.

"I would say to AT&T that they are giving up their responsibility to loyal customers who have been with them for years and years and years," he said.

And while they have heard claims that fiber-optic cable will be provided in the area, Eastman says his community has awaited that promise for 30 years.

In response, AT&T provided a statement to CBS News, emphasizing, that voice and 911 service were still accessible during the outage.

"We are focused on enhancing our network with more advanced, higher speed technologies like fiber and wireless, which consumers are increasingly demanding over outdated copper-based services," the statement read. "None of our California customers will lose access to voice service or 911 service.  And for customers who do not have alternatives available, we will continue to provide service until such time as an alternative is available."

In the meantime, Eastman has considered moving out of the area for better connection, but he has a personal attachment to his Moss Beach home.

"My grandfather and my father built the place. It's a legacy house," said Eastman. "I want to stay here."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.