Asbury Park Press

Phone Deregulation Should Be Rejected

Asbury Park Press — Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Asbury Park Press Editorial

The skyrocketing prices of food, heat and gas, coupled with New Jersey's already high cost of living, are making it harder for families to make ends meet. The state Board of Public Utilities should therefore reject Verizon and Embarq's request to deregulate basic local phone services in New Jersey. Deregulating phone services will very likely push up prices and make life harder for struggling families.

Verizon points out in an article in the Press that it charges those with modest means little for phone services. ("BPU asked to reject Verizon bid," May 2.) However, those low prices will be in jeopardy if the BPU grants Verizon's request for deregulation.

Verizon and Embarq claim online phone services, cable and cell phone companies will compete with land-line services and hold down prices. If the request to deregulate is based on a desire to lower prices for consumers, Verizon and Embarq already have the ability to go before the BPU and request that they be allowed to charge less for phone service. My guess is that the BPU would be happy to approve such a plan.

This is no time to risk a possible rate increase for phone service. The BPU should reject the petition to deregulate basic local phone services.

The Rev. Bruce H. Davidson

DIRECTOR
LUTHERAN OFFICE
OF GOVERNMENTAL MINISTRY
IN NEW JERSEY

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