Commending Town For Support Of Reform Bill — Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reader Voices

AARP commends West Milford Township for supporting the alternative telecommunications reform bill. S 3062 was developed to address shortcomings in the "Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act," or S 2664.

While both bills would remove regulations said to be unnecessary to competition in the telecommunications industry, S 3062 is consumer-friendly. The West Milford Township Council claims S 2664 is too severe, and we agree.

Under S 2664, companies would no longer be required to provide public-access channels or customer credits for extended outages and billing errors. This bill also contains no measure to guarantee a reduced-rate land-line service for qualified customers.

S 3062, on the other hand, allows business-friendly deregulations in favor of maintaining municipal benefits and consumer protections. In particular, S 3062 requires telecom companies to maintain land lines damaged by extreme weather, something we have all seen our fair share of in light of recent storms, and provide low- and fixed-income customers with affordable land-line service.

We hope other towns across the state will join West Milford in support of the alternative S 3062 telecommunications reform bill. The bill is sponsored by state Sens. Bob Smith, D-17th, and Ronald Rice, D-28th. Along with AARP, it is also supported by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and New Jersey Citizen Action.

Marilyn Askin
Chief legislative advocate
AARP New Jersey

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