Telephone Deregulation Could Go Statewide

Feb 23, 2017

Legislation to remove the state entirely from regulating telecommunications firms like AT&T, Windstream, and Cincinnati Bell is moving to the full Kentucky Senate. 

The Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee Tuesday approved the deregulation bill.  

As a result of  2015 legislation , Kentucky communities of 15,000 or less were exempted from the deregulation of phone services.  A new bill seeks to make it statewide.AT&T Kentucky President Hood Harris says it’s all about modernizing Kentucky’s communications laws. He says 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.  And new investment goes where it’s treated best.,” he said.

Kentucky Resources Council Director Tom Fitzgerald told the committee, minus state authority, ultimate oversight remains with the federal government but citizens can still bring their complaints about phone service quality or affordability to the State Public Service Commission.

Fitzgerald says, even if the bill becomes law, citizens are still entitled to affordable and reliable 4-1-1 and 9-1-1 services.

“If we have one person in a small exchange in Kentucky who is not found in time because the wireless 9-1-1 is not is accurate as it needs to be, then that would be a tragedy,” he said.