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Pennsylvania telephone deregulation bill is bad for seniors

21 Mar, 2014

In an op-ed, Wayne Burton, president of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, condemns a bill pending in the state legislature that would remove landline guarantees and cost controls.

Last November, Speed Matters posted a report from the Keystone Research Center, A Bad Deal for Pennsylvania: Raising Phone Rates and Putting Telephone Service at Risk. The report characterized HB 1608 as “... a Christmas tree of provisions benefiting telecommunications companies, particularly Verizon, without a single provision that would benefit the public.”

According to Burton, the bill is currently in the Consumer Affairs Committee. If the bill were to become law, Verizon could refuse to provide service in less profitable areas. As Burton says:

“Under this deregulation proposal, many seniors on a fixed income will struggle to afford their phone service. Landline coverage allows people on strict budgets to have an affordable, accessible option for communication. Without regulation, Verizon will be free to raise phone rates dramatically.”

Verizon policies are dictated by profit. As Burton says, “This is why state government regulation is necessary. The Legislature should place the financial and quality-of-life concerns of Pennsylvania seniors ahead of a quest by Verizon to increase their already-healthy profit margin.”

Speed Matters agrees that deregulating landline service would worsen the lives of Pennsylvania seniors, and others who struggle financially. Keep the regulations in place.

Telephone deregulation bill is a bad call for seniors: Wayne Burton (PA Patriot-News, Mar. 18, 2014)

Pennsylvania dereg bill will hurt rural broadband (Speed Matters, Nov. 13, 2013)


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