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Telephone De-Reg Bill Passes Senate Committee

Alexey Stiop/123rf Stock Photo

A state Senate panel has put its stamp of approval on deregulation of stand-alone phone services in small Kentucky communities. Towns with populations of 15,000 or less were carved out of de-reg legislation approved in 2015. Senate Bill 10 would extend that policy statewide.

Kentucky Resources Council Director Tom Fitzgerald opposed the deregulation two years ago, but not this session. He did express some concerns during the committee hearing. Fitzgerald said, even if the bill becomes law, citizens are still entitled to affordable and reliable 411 and 911 services.

“If we have one person in a small exchange in Kentucky who is not found in time because the wireless 911 is not is accurate as it needs to be, then that would be a tragedy,” Fitzgerald said.

AT&T State President Hood Harris said it’s all about modernizing Kentucky’s communications laws. He said letting go of local control will allow commercial and educational service enhancements.

“If new investment helps create jobs, educate our children, and make Kentucky competitive in the global market place," Harris said. "And new investment goes where it’s treated best.”

Harris told members of the Senate Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee 84 percent of Kentuckians now communicate by cell phone. He said this legislation will modernize the state’s communications laws and assured committee members, as promised, not one Kentucky customer has lost landline services since 2015.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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