April 7, 2010: Telephone Deregulation Legislation Harms Consumers
For Immediate Release: April 7, 2010
Telephone Deregulation Legislation Will Harm Consumers
Statement of Charlie Higley, Executive Director
“The Citizens Utility Board strongly opposes telephone deregulation legislation AB 696 & SB 469.
“Although there are over 4 million cellphones in Wisconsin, there are still over 3 million landlines, which means hundreds of thousands of households and thousands of businesses still rely on landline service. AB 696 & SB 469 would repeal almost all of the consumer protections provided by the Public Service Commission regarding landline service. With this radical deregulation legislation, telephone utilities like AT&T:
- would no longer need to provide reasonable service at reasonable rates;
- would no longer need to file financial information with the PSC, allowing them to evade appropriate regulation and charge whatever they want for service;
- could change telephone rates or stop providing service at their discretion;
- would no longer need to maintain important equipment and facilities, such as the lines going to homes and businesses;
- could charge customers discriminatory rates for similar service, thus favoring preferred customers while charging everyone else higher rates;
“This legislation was largely written by AT&T. Many businesses and organizations, including CUB, had no input on the legislation.
“Given these concerns, I urge lawmakers to vote against AB 696 and SB 469.”