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Legislative Memo

BILL:

A.9807-A (Brodsky) / S.6787-A (Morahan)

Support

SUBJECT:

Telecommunications Competition

 

DATE:

April 7, 2006

 

The Business Council of New York State strongly opposes this legislation, which seeks to
short circuit the regulatory process by requiring the Public Service Commission (PSC) to
immediately suspend Case 05-C-0616.

BACKGROUND:

Case 05-C-0616, known as Comp III, continues the examination of competition in the
telecommunications industry. This examination goes as far back as the late 1970's, and is
guided by the principles of consumer service, service quality, universal service, and
affordability.

This proceeding is evidence that the Commission is well aware of the profound changes
that have occurred in the telecommunications industry in the nine years since its Comp II
Order. There is now robust competition between those providers regulated by the PSC
and those that are not.

In the voice market, wireless providers now outnumber landline customers nationally, and
likely will soon take the lead in New York as well. Cable TV companies not only compete
for voice communications customers, but also high-speed Internet services and landline
telephony. Advanced telephone service over a broadband connection using VoIP (Voice
over Internet Protocol) technology is increasingly gaining customers in today's robust
telecommunications marketplace.

OBJECTIONS:
The bill implies, without basis, that the Commission would not evaluate the concerns listed
in the bill (e.g., impact on rates, service quality, universal service, reliability, etc.) before
taking action in the proceeding. The goal of Case 05-C-0616 is to create an appropriate
regulatory regime for today's competitive telecommunications market. Regulation needs
to adapt to ensure all providers have a fair opportunity to compete and that customers are
able to maximize their opportunity to choose service providers. The stated goal of DPS
staff in developing this new regime included the protection of customers and the provision
of quality telecommunications services and competitive alternatives. This has always been
a priority of the Commission and is not likely to change.

Additionally, the bill requires a report on the effects of a proceeding which it requires be
suspended. This is illogical at best.

This proceeding involved extensive effort by a great number of parties, and included the
submission of thousands of pages of documents and numerous public hearings. This bill
attempts to keep the Commission from acting on its findings.

The bill would interfere with the traditional role of the PSC as the expert agency in matters
related to telecommunications. This would be a dangerous precedent.

For the abovementioned reasons, The Business Council strongly opposes this legislation
and urges it not be adopted.