Two telecommunications bills have been added to the bill tracking report under the House of Representatives heading and the List of Bills by Topic under “Deaf/Hard of Hearing”. Here is the legislative summary of each of these bills. The concern I’ve been made aware of is that if the phone company (AT&T for most of the state, Verizon in Greenwich) stops providing “land line” phone service there could be compatibility issues for Deaf/HH technologies such as fax, TTY, and burglar and medical monitoring and emergency call services such as Life Alert.
More information will be shared as it becomes available. Any persons concerned about these bills can contact their legislators and leaders of the House of Representatives and State Senate. Right now both bills are in the House. If the House approves one or both bills the next step would be action by the State Senate.
HB 6402 AN ACT MODERNIZING THE STATE'S TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAWS.
This bill allows a telephone company, beginning July 1, 2013, to withdraw from providing a competitive telecommunications service by giving notice to, rather than getting approval from, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). The bill also requires the company to notify affected customers. It requires a telephone company seeking to withdraw from a noncompetitive service to follow (1) PURA regulations or orders and (2) the process for investigating a tariff filing. (There are two telephone companies in the state, Verizon, which serves part of Greenwich, and AT&T, which serves the rest of the state. )
By law, telecommunications services are (1) classified as competitive, emerging competitive, or noncompetitive and (2) subject to varying levels of regulation depending on how they are classified. Under current law, a service is competitive if a telephone company provides a residential customer with two or more of its services. The bill (1) eliminates the requirement that the company itself provide these services and (2) expands the list of services to include toll service provided by another carrier and broadband services.
HB 6401 AN ACT CONCERNING INTERCONNECTED VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL SERVICE AND INTERNET PROTOCOL-ENABLED SERVICE.
This bill generally bars state agencies and political subdivisions from enacting, adopting, or enforcing any law or other provision having the force of law that regulates, or has the effect of regulating, the entry, rates, terms, or conditions of voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) and related services. VOIP service providers include companies such as Skype and Vonage. In addition, AT&T provides its U-Verse service using VOIP.