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Consumer advocates oppose telecom bill

DECEMBER 9, 2009

Consumer advocates oppose telecom bill

The following appeared December 9, 2009 in the Dayton Daily News (DDN). Ellis Jacobs (ABLE) is quoted in the article. Read below, or view on the DDN Web site.

By Laura Bischoff

Advocates for consumers and low-income Ohioans are opposing two telecom reform bills pending in the General Assembly that they say will lead to rate hikes for basic telephone service and weaker consumer protections.

More than 40 groups representing millions of Ohioans on Wednesday Dec. 9 signed onto a letter to state leaders urging defeat House Bill 276 and Senate Bill 162, which are supported by the Ohio Telecom Association.
 

The following appeared December 9, 2009 in the Dayton Daily News (DDN). Ellis Jacobs (ABLE) is quoted in the article. Read below, or view on the DDN Web site.


Consumer advocates oppose telecom bill
By Laura Bischoff

Advocates for consumers and low-income Ohioans are opposing two telecom reform bills pending in the General Assembly that they say will lead to rate hikes for basic telephone service and weaker consumer protections.

More than 40 groups representing millions of Ohioans on Wednesday Dec. 9 signed onto a letter to state leaders urging defeat House Bill 276 and Senate Bill 162, which are supported by the Ohio Telecom Association.

Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander, who represents the state’s 4.5 million residential utility customers, warns that the legislation would lead to steeper monthly bills, larger security deposits, longer outages and potentially quicker disconnections.

Ohio has 9.1 million wireless subscribers and 5.7 million land lines. Wireless and cable-based telephone service are not subject to regulation by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Migden-Ostrander said the legislation would allow utilities to increase their basic telephone service rates by $1.25 a month every year and dilute current minimum service requirements.

"This is absolutely not the time to be granting rate increases to companies that don’t need the rate increases," said Ellis Jacobs, an attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, a legal clinic in western Ohio.