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Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

A.2030A (O'Donnell)
S.3293A (Flanagan)

Support

SUBJECT:

Wireless telephone regulation

 

DATE:

January 30, 2008

 

The Business Council opposes this legislation, which would impose complicated and costly new state regulations on wireless telephone companies.

The Business Council believes strongly that state-specific wireless service regulations will have a number of adverse consequences. Indeed, it could prevent New York wireless consumers from having access to discounted national service plans that customers from the rest of the nation can enjoy.

Over the past decade, the wireless telephone market has grown immensely, due to the fact that it is a highly competitive and healthy market. Vibrant competition has given wireless customers an extensive array of choices in equipment, pricing plans and new services, including two-way radio, text messaging, video capability, and Internet access.

The proof that wireless is working for consumers is in the numbers – 13 million New Yorkers now use wireless phones. The ultimate consumer protection can be found in the fact that all New York carriers now offer prepaid service requiring no contract and no termination fees.

The overwhelming majority of New York wireless users, including business owners and employees, are not clamoring for new state government regulations on wireless services. The marketplace is very quickly and effectively responding to consumer and business demands as it rolls out each new generation of technological advancement. Regulating wireless is in part attempting to regulate the Internet. Were government to have taken this approach ten years ago it would have stifled the growth of the Internet and e-commerce. Likewise, we believe that government intervention to regulate wireless can only disadvantage consumers and businesses in New York State.

The beauty of the competitive marketplace is that companies recognize that customers have a choice. Businesses are driven to win in the marketplace by offering products that best meet customers needs.

The underlying reality of this competitive marketplace is that it does not need extensive government involvement to make it work. Government regulation can be a substitute for competition, as they are in monopoly markets. But competitive markets just don't need, and in fact suffer from, government over-involvement.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be adopted.