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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

March 7, 2001

Legislature OKs bill to enhance telecommunications competition
Bill would make permanent changes first approved in 1998

The state Legislature has approved a bill that would make permanent a 1998 law that exempts telecommunications companies from certain regulatory requirements related to services and products.

The Business Council strongly supports the bill (S.2241-Alesi; A. 4446-Vann).

In 1998, the Legislature passed, and Governor Pataki signed, a law that changed the requirements governing how telecommunications companies were required to file schedules describing products and services they planned to offer in accordance with the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA). That law expired March 1.

The law was passed because lawmakers recognized that competitive developments in the telecommunications industry required the adjustments, Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh said.

"New York was leading the nation in opening the local telephone market to competition," Walsh said. "Unfortunately, there where inconsistencies in SAPA that placed certain companies at a disadvantage in the offering of local exchange service."

The law provided a broad exemption for schedules filed by telephone corporations, creating a level playing field for all telephone carriers.

The Council supported the bill to make the change permanent "because the marketplace has benefitted from this change," Walsh said.

"Telephone carriers have been able to make new products and services available to consumers on a more timely basis as a result of the 1998 law," Walsh said. "The result is that consumers of these products and services are better able to take advantage of these offerings.