Thompson Lauds Passage of His PHONE Act

Jul 20, 2021
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation provides assistance to survivors of disaster rebuilding their homes

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) applauded the passage of the bipartisan PHONE Act, his legislation that allows survivors of natural disasters who lost their homes to keep their phone numbers at no cost to them while they rebuild. Often after homes are destroyed in natural disasters such as fires, the landline phone numbers need to be disconnected and if those numbers are offline too long, the service provider is required by law to reassign the phone number to other customers.

It may sound ridiculous but under current law, disaster survivors can’t keep their phone numbers if they are rebuilding their homes and their phones are disconnected for more than three months. While survivors are recovering, the last thing they want to worry about is saving their phone number. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan PHONE Act,” said Thompson. “This important bipartisan legislation lets disaster survivors keep their phone numbers while they rebuild their homes. This gives them peace of mind and I’ll continue working to ensure this bill becomes law.”

Thompson first introduced this legislation in November 2018 after hearing from constituents who lost their homes in the Atlas and Tubbs fires in October 2017. He reintroduced in March 2021 and you can click here to read the text of the PHONE Act. The bill includes:

  • An automatic 1-year freeze on residential wireline phone number reassignment following a major disaster declaration,
  • The option to extend for an additional year at customer request,
  • And a requirement that states determine if this safeguard is necessary and in the public interest + coordinate with FEMA and consult with wireline service providers to reasonably limit the designation to areas that have sustained Covered Damage.

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