Ohio loosens up wireline regulations

Soon wireline operators might have an easier time operating in Ohio as the Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill that will ease up regulations on traditional wireline service providers.

Not surprisingly, AT&T, which provides phone and data service in Ohio, applauded the move. By passing this legislation, AT&T argues that it will be able to ramp up new network investments in Ohio to more effectively compete with cable operators who do not have to abide the same regulatory rules to provide phone service.

"If we get rid of some of the unnecessary regulatory risk and cost, I have 100 percent confidence that we'll see jobs, we'll see investment and see economic development that will flow from that," said Tom Pelto, president of AT&T in Ohio.

However, not everyone is happy with the bill. Even though the bill could provide some new benefits for end-customers, area consumer advocates fear that it could hinder regulations that were put in place to provide affordable prices and reliable phone service. The Ohio Consumers' Counsel, which has joined forces with 45 consumer groups in opposition of the bill, is concerned that what has been proposed won't provide a lot of protections to consumers.

"We were pleased that the final bill included significant consumer benefits," said Ohio Consumers' Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander in a statement. "But we are deeply disappointed that this bill erodes decades of consumer protections for the vast majority of telephone customers: those with bundles and packages of service."

For more:
- The Plain Dealer has this article

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