osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Legislative ALERT for My Friends In Maryland -- Please Signal Boost!

Verizon is pushing a bill through the Maryland Legislature totally deregulating existing basic phone service. The bill is SB 577, with the companion bill in the House, HB 1166. The bill would allow Verizon to end wireline phone service without regulatory review, with merely 30 days written notice to the customer and 14 days notice (no review) to the MD Public Service Commission (PSC).

The bill is part of a broader national campaign that has already effectively ended regulation of wireline phone service in over 30 states, to the significant detriment of consumers dependent on basic phone service. This is particularly problematic for older residents, small businesses dependent on copper line service, and rural areas (although it is surprising how close to a city you can be and still be "rural" for rate of return purposes).

Public Knowledge just sent a letter with 10 other public interest organizations opposing the SB 577 & HB 1166. (Text of letter here.) News coverage of the bill has, sadly, been non-existent. In addition, the bill is opposed by the Maryland Attorney General's Office, the Maryland Office of People's Counsel, the MD PSC, and Communications Workers of America. It is also opposed by Verizon competitors such as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Comcast (yes, Comcast and I agree on something), since the bill would allow Verizon to decommission critical interconnection facilities with only 30 days written notice.

If you live in Maryland, please call your state Senator to oppose SB 577, then call you state Representative to oppose HB 1166.

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