NJ lawmakers look to ease telecom regulation

New Jersey lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill aimed at blocking the state Board of Public Utilities’ oversight of cable and telco businesses, including merger, acquisitions and other telecom business. The bill grows out of last year’s imbroglio over the BPU’s attempt to impose its jurisdiction over the Dolan family’s efforts to take Cablevision Systems—New Jersey’s second largest cable provider—private. The bill was introduced and approved on the same day by an Assembly committee last week. The Senate Economic Growth Committee is expected to look it over Monday.

The bill is opposed by organized labor and consumer groups who worry lack of regulation could hurt customers and quality of service.

But bill sponsor Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), said the proposed legislation would simply get “government off the backs of business,” adding “"This will allow Cablevision to get rid of the Knicks, Rangers or Madison Square Garden without state review."

Cablevision had no comment.

For more:
- See the story in the Newark Star-Ledger