NJ telecom deregulation bill advances through legislature

New Jersey legislation that its supporters--cable and telephone companies--see as wire cutters snipping away at the state's regulatory chains is actually an opportunity for those same organizations to raise prices and cut service, detractors say.

The legislation, which targets the state's financial control over basic cable and landline phones, contends that telecom monopolies are a historical artifact in New Jersey and "if you no longer have concerns about monopolies, you no longer need the strong hand of government," Karen Alexander, president and chief executive officer of New Jersey Utilities Authority, a strangely named trade group that supports telecom companies told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

On the other side, Stefanie Brand, director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, said the legislation "goes further in terms of cable deregulation than any other state."

Finally, the non-partisan research groups New Jersey Policy Perspective and Demos put the impact in financial terms, claiming that landline customers could see bills that go up $100 a year.

For more:
- the Philadelphia Inquirer has this story

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