Colorado legislators propose bill to modernize state's telecom laws

Colorado lawmakers are proposing a new measure that will lower broadband service costs for consumers who live in the rural segments of the state.

Under the new SB 12-157 bill, the legislature wants to "modernize" telecom laws that were put in place when POTS was the dominant service.

"Archaic laws of the past that were focused on using landlines to communicate are in need of an overhaul," Sen. Lois Tochtrop (D-Thorton) said an article. "For Colorado to move forward, we must enact policies that support rapidly changing technologies to encourage jobs and investment across Colorado."

Joining Tochtrop in support of the bill is Sen. Mark Scheffel (R-Parker), who said it was developed over the past year and half via a collaboration between lawmakers and other state agencies, in addition to State Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver) and State Rep. Carole Murray (R-Castle Rock).

If the modernization bill is passed, this bipartisan group of lawmakers argues that consumers would see "significant savings" on what they pay for service. Among other possible benefits is that bill would also lower corporate subsidies if the size of the state High Cost Fund was reduced and enable the Governor's Office of Information and Technology to issue grants to build out new broadband networks in the state's under-served rural areas.

Interestingly, this proposed bill follows an effort by the Colorado General Assembly has developed the Rural Broadband Jobs Act, or Senate Bill 12-129, which would mandate that the state's Public Utilities Commission and Office of Information Technology (OIT) provide information on what communities have decent broadband service coverage.

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