AARP Opposes Phone & Cable Deregulation Bill

By Marilyn Askin, AARP New Jersey Chief Legislative Advocate

AARP New Jersey adamantly opposes S. 2664, a bill to deregulate basic telephone and cable television services. The bill would leave consumers without regulatory oversight of either rates or quality of service by removing essentially all powers of the Board of Public Utilities to protect consumers.

In other states where similar legislation has passed, consumers have experienced steep rate increases and quality of service problems. For basic landline telephone service, there are no realistic competitive alternatives for consumers to use, and no reasonable basis for deregulation of those services.

Further, basic telephone service is an essential health and safety requirement for all residents of New Jersey. Traditional landline service works even in emergencies like Hurricane Irene, and after the recent snowstorm when power was interrupted. During those recent events, when power was out –often for several days– the only thing that worked for many was their traditional landline telephone. Don’t let this essential service be jeopardized by unsupervised companies through unnecessary and inappropriate deregulation.

If you or someone you know relies on a landline telephone to keep in touch during power outages, or at any time for that matter, or uses a landline in conjunction with a home security system or medical alert device in case of emergency, please use that same phone now to make it clear to Governor Christie just how important the service is to you. Call him and tell him to stop S2664.

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