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Legislative Memo

Johnny Evers
Director of Governemnt Affairs
T 518.465.7511, ext. 204
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.6111 (Gallivan) / A.7543 (Lifton)

Support

SUBJECT:

Relates to Service Quality Standards for Copper Telephone Systems

 

DATE:

June 7, 2017

 

The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association, strongly opposes this legislation that would require the public service commission (PSC) to establish a plan for all copper [wire] telephone systems.

The PSC is currently undertaking a proceeding regarding the issues raised in this legislation. This evidentiary proceeding’s goals are to gather data, hold hearings, and determine the best manner to address the issues related to copper telephone systems. The proceedings have just received initial testimony by Verizon and will only start to hold public hearings in June.  As such, this legislation attempts to usurp the PSC regulatory process. Rather than letting the PSC process run its course, this legislation would subvert the established and accepted norms for taking all points of view into consideration under the regulatory body charged with oversight before a very important public policy is enacted.  Even the entertainment of such legislation is a prejudice to the proceeding since it unilaterally characterizes – and attempts to codify under law – a questionable status regarding the copper system, required standards of repair and upkeep, and – without any financial considerations – staffing levels and business plans by the operating entity.  

It should be noted that under the current plan, Verizon has provided excellent service despite facing numerous challenges including the competitive nature of the industry and the high fixed costs associated with operating and maintaining a landline network in New York State.  

By unilaterally taking out of the hands of the PSC the responsibility to weigh all options after evidentiary and public hearings, and imposing a pre-determined outcome, this legislation thwarts good public policy making.

For these reasons The Business Council urges that the legislature not approve this legislation.