Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Landlines and rural PA; Lancaster Safety Coalition -- more than cameras

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 19, 2015 9:58 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, August 19, 2015:

In today's Smart Phone obsessed society, it sometimes is to forget about landline telephone service.

Businesses and schools still rely on landlines, but for personal use, cellphones have become the dominant tool of communication for Americans. More and more people are beginning to opt out of landlines completely because they don't see the point or don't want to pay for having both a house phone and a cell phone.

However, throughout Pennsylvania there are many rural areas that do not have reliable access to wireless services. For these individuals, landlines are the only option for dependable phone service.

Hilly and mountainous terrain makes it expensive to develop and maintain landlines. Fifteen years ago the Pennsylvania Universal Service Fund (PaUSF) was established in order to help keep the cost of phone service affordable in rural areas. Recently, legislation has been introduced in the state legislature to extend the life of PaUSF.

Steven J. Samara-President, Pennsylvania Telephone Association joins us on Smart Talk to discuss this bill and the future of landlines in Pennsylvania.


Steven Samara

Also, when most people think of the Lancaster Safety Coalition, video cameras is probably the first thing to come to mind.  The coalition has been monitoring cameras in the city for 10 years now.  They are used as a crime fighting tool but in other ways too. 

The Lancaster Safety Coalition is holding a community celebration on September 16th to bring attention to how it makes Lancaster's citizens and visitors safer.

Appearing on Wednesday's program are Wes Farmer, Executive Director and Doug Groff, volunteer board member and Resource Development Committee Chair of the Lancaster Safety Coalition.


Doug Groff & Wes Farmer

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-19 09:39

    Victor emails:

    I live in Marietta, PA (about 2,500 residents) and for years we have been in a cell phone hole. The only way to make/receive calls consistently is to go outside. There is a recently erected tower just outside of town, but as one who resides close to the Susquehanna river, therefore lower down in elevation from the surrounding land, cell phone reception diminishes significantly. This is true for all the major carriers, Verizon, At&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Our borough council seems impotent to advocate for any improvement in the situation. What else could one do to improve the situation? Is there a state agency for which one could seek help?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-19 09:40

    Steve from Kempton, PA emails:

    I need phone wire for DSL. Didn't the state give tax breaks years ago to Verizon to build statewide high speed network to reach rural areas?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-19 09:40

    John from Carsonville emails:

    What about we who have to maintain our landline for DSL internet service ? I’d love to drop the landline but can’t afford satellite service.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-19 09:41

    A listener emails:

    I have a house phone that is attached to the wall, it’s through the internet though (that makes me uncomfortable). If power goes out or there is a problem with the internet I would rather have a land line phone.

    My kids stay home with their dad during the day and I have some peace of mind knowing that they/he can’t lose a land line phone and if my kids need to call for help it is always there. IT doesn’t need charged and it has button numbers. Cell phone towers can go out, service is spotty, internet runs slow; I think people should really still have land lines and I hope that the trend comes back around to having a land line phone.

    What if someone brings down the internet/cell phone system by hacking and they don’t have a land line? People would be lost and run to their old fashion neighbors with landlines.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-19 09:42

    Tom in Carlisle

    I was in a state forest up north a while back and there was a pay phone at the office. No cell phone service was available. Officials said they had to fight to keep the pay phone for emergencies after hours.

    My daughter is cell phone only and her's quit. She was isolated (which is not a bad idea, but not to her) until she could get a new one.

    I will have a home land-line until they pry it out of my cold dead hands…

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-19 09:45

    Steve from Kempton, PA follows up:

    See article--

  • thinkwrite img 2015-08-24 23:35

    People have forgotten what a telephone is supposed to do, which is make voice calls. I have a smartphone, but the sound is horrible. Your ear must be precisely positioned to understand what is coming through the phone. My home land line on my desk has a trimline phone which has great sound 100% of the time. I also have DSL through it. I will keep my home phone as long as possible. I hear that phone companies are not taking care of their own copper lines. This is typical of big business, but hateful to the customer.