My weekly Bluegrass Beacon column released to newspapers on Thursday was about the state Senate’s approval of legislation removing onerous regulations from state law that not only discourage telecommunications companies from investing more resources in Kentucky, but also hamper them from investing in ways that improve the commonwealth’s wireless infrastructure.
Fear mongers say the legislation would deny low-income Kentuckians in rural areas basic phone service. That’s simply not true. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The legislation sent to the House allows:
- Telecom companies to provide basic service using a wireless network or Internet-based technology rather than being forced to install a costly wire line, which will be obsolete by the end of the decade. The companies must provide basic services, but simply have the option to choose how they deliver those services.
- Customers to switch back to wire-based service within 30 days if they do not like the wireless or Internet-based service provided by the telecom company. Reaching for some type of legitimate opposition to this sound policy, the Lexington Herald-Leader in a recent editorial opposing the bill criticized the 30-day period as too brief. However, users of today’s technology know within an hour or two – a day or two at the most – whether a device, gadget or service works for them.
There are many ways in which Kentucky’s neighboring states are moving ahead – right-to-work laws, eliminating punitive taxes and school choice. Add telecom regulatory reform to the policies that are proving to be “best practices” for neighboring states, but that the Kentucky House of Representatives’ Majority leadership has refused to support.