SB 245 which restructures the telecommunications industry passed the Senate 40 to 6. It’s a lengthy, opaque bill, and I do not pretend to be certain as to whether it’s good or bad for Indiana. I’m skittish because electricity restructuring almost bankrupted California and caused political chaos when Enron and other energy companies took advantage of weak government oversight to gouge the state. My recollection is that other states that have tried deregulating the telephone industry saw their rates for basic telephone service going up.
My suspicion is that this bill will ultimately be good for me, personally. I’m a high-end user of telecommunications services. High-speed Internet, cell phones, etc. I suspect competition to provide those sorts of services will increase. However, I also suspect that there will be no additional competition to provide plain vanilla local telephone service and that, absent regulation, those rates will increase quite a bit. I wouldn’t want to be the legislator who voted to increase telephone bills in my district.
Molly Lin, writing for the Indy Star, has a story here.
A couple of quotes:
The telephone industry has been trying for several years to win deregulation to better compete with cable and Internet providers of voice, video and data services.
To address the concerns of some critics, SB 245 also was amended to ban local pay-per-minute measured service and would decrease the requirements for local municipalities that want to provide broadband access to their communities on their own.