On Tuesday, the Ohio House and Senate hosted hearings on an industry-backed telecommunications bill aimed at deregulating local telephone service. Under the auspices of adjusting legislation to meet the technological advances of recent years, advocacy groups warn that rather than serving the populace, this new legislation would in fact create a myriad of problems in oversight and pricing for consumers across the state.
Some of those problems include:
- The ability for all Ohio phone companies to raise prices on an annual basis
- Weakening of consumer protections in areas such as service quality, customer credits, billing and deposits
- Weakening the Lifeline discount program for low-income Ohioans and shifting costs to consumers
- Failing to provide broadband access to all Ohioans
“Ohioans across the state deserve fair and reasonably-priced telephone service,” said Consumers’ Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander. “Under the legislation, residential consumers could be left with higher prices while telephone companies would have less accountability for bad service. We are extremely concerned with this proposal.”