News

Verizon Bill Moves in Del.

6/13/2008 8:00 PM Eastern

Cable operators withdrew opposition to a Delaware bill that would deregulate Verizon Communications's competitive telecommunications services after that company agreed to compromise on language regarding interconnection agreements, cable officials said.

A Comcast spokesman said the state's biggest cable provider “did not oppose the bill as its final language did not raise concerns for us.” Last Thursday, House Bill 417 was approved in the House, as amended, by voice vote and heads to a Senate committee, according to the legislature's Web site.

Cable representatives earlier had testified they were concerned about possibly loosening regulatory oversight of interconnection agreements that cable telephony providers must negotiate with incumbent phone carriers.

Officially, H.B. 417, to amend a 1993 law, “attempts to create a more level playing field among providers and eliminates administrative oversight and filing requirements with respect to these competitive services. It does not alter the current statutory scheme or rate structure governing the provision of residential or single line business dial tone lines or local usage. Nor does it alter the Public Service Commission's current authority with respect to service quality over those services.”

Verizon stipulated nothing in the amendment would affect the rights and duties of telecommunications carriers to negotiate interconnection agreements, or the public service commission's authority to arbitrate and approve them.

Verizon said the bill “strikes the right balance by continuing to provide consumer safeguards that retain the Public Service Commission's (PSC) current oversight and rate structure for residential and single-line business customers.

At the same time, it would allow companies like Verizon additional freedom in bringing the latest technologies and services to a highly competitive marketplace.”

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