Officials of telecommunications conglomerate AT&T say Illinois' landlines won't be going away anytime soon despite a new state law to end the traditional phone service.

The Illinois Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would remove AT&T’s obligation to maintain the old technology.

That requirement dates back many decades when Illinois granted AT&T a telephone monopoly in the state’s metropolitan areas. In exchange, the company agreed to maintain the network of wires for all residences.

A hundred years ago, a predecessor company called American Telephone & Telegraph owned and operated nearly all telephone lines in the country.

AARP Illinois and consumer-rights groups in the state say they oppose legislation that would allow AT&T to divert its resources away from landlines.  The legislation would permit the utility giant to free itself from a legal obligation to provide landline service in areas with old technology. 

As more people ditch their landline phones for cell phones, 911 call centers are struggling to maintain services. That’s because wireless phone lines in Illinois are often taxed at a lower rate than landlines. There’s a push to change that.