New Course On Telecom

NJBIZ — Monday, January 9, 2012

Letters to the Editor

The Dec. 19 NJBIZ editorial ("Don't keep telecoms on the hook") called for passage of S-2664 to eliminate the "heavy oversight on technology that's rapidly hurtling toward extinction." Perhaps the author did not read the bill, because it eliminates benefits due to municipalities as part of the recent rollout of the Fios technology.

The New Jersey League of Municipalities opposes S-2664 and supports the alternative S-3062. In an effort to address a perceived desire on the part of legislators to deregulate the cable and phone industries where possible, a coalition including the League, State Ratepayer Advocate, AARP, New Jersey Citizen Action and others has worked with Sen. Bob Smith (D-Piscataway) to develop this alternative legislation. S-3062 offers relief from telecommunications regulations where possible while preserving the important benefits to consumers and communities established in 2006 through enactment of the system-wide cable franchise. S-2664 puts these recently enacted community benefits in jeopardy. These community benefits, which were part of the rollout of Fios, the most cutting-edge telecommunications technology employed today, assure municipalities of such benefits as proper franchise fees; live cablecasting for emergency communications; proper service connections to municipal buildings and other appropriate benefits due to communities.

S-3062 is not a holdover from the horse-and-buggy era. It respects the benefits communities negotiated just six years ago while seeking to offer the industry regulatory relief where possible. Accordingly, the League of Municipalities supports S-3062 as an alternative to S-2664.

Brian Wahler, mayor
Chair, New Jersey League of Municipalities
Telecommunications Task Force

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