Hartford- Today Richard Brodsky, Senior Fellow at the nonpartisan policy organization Demos joined with telecommunications expert Nathan Newman to release a new report detailing of the severe negative impacts phone deregulation would have on Connecticut ratepayers if SB 447 is passed.
The Demos report, “SB 447: Raising Phone Rates and Putting Telephone Service at Risk for Connecticut Consumers,” finds that under the proposed legislation, telecommunications companies, particularly AT&T, would be able to:
- Cut off phone service to less profitable customers, including senior, rural, and low-income populations
- Raise phone rates and charge hidden fees
- Withhold rate information from State auditors
- Operate without state oversight
- Preemptively deregulate digital phone service
"The only consequence of this legislation will be higher monthly telephone bills and worse service for the people of Connecticut," said Richard Brodsky
, co-author of the report. Brodsky oversaw New York State’s telecommunication regulation from 2002 until 2010 as Chairman of the New York State Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions.
This new report looked at the effects of similar deregulatory legislation across the nation, as well as the impact of deregulation on Connecticut’s electricity rates. It found that after similar telecommunications deregulation legislation was passed in California and Illinois, rates increased by as much as 63%. In Connecticut, consumers suffered a 53.2% price increase following the state's deregulation of electricity.
The report makes clear that anti-consumer legislation like SB 447 are the result of aggressive lobbying efforts of AT&T and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), calling the law a "lobbyist wish-list of provisions that will eliminate nearly every consumer protection for ratepayers and nearly element of corporate transparency.” The report urges the state legislature to reject any measure that destroys consumer protections and corporate transparency in the telecommunications industry.
“SB 447 puts telephone service at risk for seniors, and other vulnerable populations,” said Nathan Newman, a noted telecommunications expert and co-author of the report. "The state legislature must reject it."