Kentucky governor Beshear green lights telecom deregulation bill heralded by AT&T

AT&T (NYSE: T) has won what could be a victory in Kentucky as Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a law that will limit a service provider's obligation to provide POTS service to consumers and businesses.  

Under the new law, service providers that operate in the state will be able to discontinue offering traditional POTS services in urban areas if they can provide an alternative wireless-based service or VoIP.

However, service providers will still have to continue to provide POTS service for existing rural area customers, but not to new housing developments built in these areas.

According to a report in Louisville Business First, House Bill 152 passed on Feb. 24 by a vote of 71-25, while the Senate passed the SB 3 bill on March 2 by a 30-3 vote.

Hood Harris, president of AT&T Kentucky, previously told Louisville Business First that the bill would enable AT&T to more effectively invest in next-gen services because it would free up capital it has to dedicate today to maintain the legacy TDM-based voice service.

"This bill positions us to be competitive with other states, when we inside the company are fighting to get investment." he said. "…This bill also helps us from the standpoint that we don't trap those dollars in the old technology."

The telco has been gunning for telecom deregulation in Tennessee and other markets like Florida for a number of years. The service provider had employed 20 lobbyists in Tennessee and contributed nearly $180,000 to state lawmakers through its PAC.

For more:
- Louisville Business First has this article

Related articles:
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AT&T to conduct TDM-to-IP transition tests in Alabama, Florida
Tennessee Senate approves AT&T deregulation bill
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Phone companies move deregulation forward in Florida