Today IO released a new report urging Ohio legislators to stop Senate Bill 271 in its tracks.
The legislation, drafted at the urging of Ohio’s largest phone companies, would allow traditional phone companies in Ohio to stop offering basic landline service to many of their customers, including low-income and senior Ohioans for whom the service is truly a lifeline. Over 800,000 Ohio adults live in households where a landline phone is the only voice service present.
Our research found that an existing mechanism in law, created less than two years ago, allowing phone companies to stop offering basic landline service — if they have a technological or financial barrier to doing so and can show it is in the public interest — has never been used. It’s hard, then, to understand how making it easier is, itself, in the public interest.
The proposal comes hot on the heels of earlier legislation that streamlined Ohio’s regulation of traditional landline carriers. That bill, SB162, established a select committee who would look into telephone competition in Ohio and the need for further reform, with a report due back in 2014. The legislature should wait for the select committee to conclude its analysis before enacting further changes to Ohio’s telecom laws.
Read the report.
Read the press release.