Grant Smith, of the Citizen’s Action Coalition, has a scathing column in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on HB 1279 which lifts regulations on local telephone companies. The short version: “Telecom bill raises rates, reduces jobs.” Mr. Smith contends that, despite telecom company claims to the contrary, this bill does not do much to encourage broadband competition between telecom companies and cable companies. A couple of quotes:
Broadband was defined in the legislation to accommodate copper-wire data transfer speeds, not high-speed fiber optic cable. Why? Itâ€™s an underhanded way to base automatic rate increases on investments already made. Rate increases will occur in areas where 50â€‚percent of customers in an exchange have access to (not actually have) broadband service â€“ in other words, in urban areas.
. . .
The entire ill-gotten deal smacks of crony capitalism. Those legislators who sponsored the legislation should apologize profusely to their constituents and vow to reverse the ill-advised passage of HB 1279. Higher utility rates and fewer jobs are not a good combination for the Indiana economy.