Tag Archive: telecom

Building New Jersey’s future

The way to build New Jersey’s future is through competition and investment from the private sector. As an engineer and business owner with more than two decades of experience managing the planning, development, design, and construction of complex institutional facilities for education and healthcare, I understand first-hand how private sector investment creates jobs.

When companies are allowed to compete in a free an open marketplace, everyone wins. Companies bring resources to bear in a competitive market that might otherwise be used elsewhere. To compete for consumers, businesses must build facilities, expand services and offer competitive pricing. The net result is lower prices and better service for consumers and job creation for New Jersey.

Government also has a role to play. When over-regulation prevents fair competition, investment from the private sector is slowed. This in turn slows the roll-out of new services and cripples job growth. When regulations become obsolete or outdated, it is the job of government to modernize these rules.

Sadly, New Jersey’s existing rules pertaining to cable and telecommunications providers are grossly out of date. These rules, created decades ago before the iPhone, laptop computer or the Internet were even dreamed of, hamstring the communications marketplace and prevent competitors from operating on a level playing field. As it stands, government red tape is slowing innovation and preventing communications providers from creating jobs in New Jersey.

That is why Senator Raymond Lesniak introduced legislation earlier this year to reform New Jersey’s outdated laws. S. 2664, the Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act, removes bureaucratic red tape and decades-old rules in the communications and video industry, but maintains important protections such as LifeLine service for seniors and other vulnerable populations. This important legislation will open New Jersey to new investment.

Cable and telecommunications providers operate at a national level. Like any business, their resources are not limitless. If outdated rules and regulations prevent open competition in New Jersey, cable and telecom companies will chose to invest their resources elsewhere. This makes New Jersey less competitive in the region, stunts job growth and hurts the vendors and suppliers working in the communications sector. That is why I support this important legislation.

The State Senate has the opportunity to pass S. 2664 before the end of the year. I hope they do. We need this legislation so that New Jersey can break loose from the past and begin building its future.

Anthony Bastardi is the Chairman of the Board of New Jersey Foundation for Public Broadcasting

S2664, Verizon’s anti-consumer telecom bill – on hold

Blue Jersey heard from Senator Loretta Weinberg from the State House about an hour ago that the telecom bill pushed by Verizon – S2664 – is being held up and may not be voted on today – and that the bill may in fact undergo substantive changes. We’re hearing from elsewhere that Sen. Sweeney has pulled the bill from consideration for today.

There’s been a howl of protest against this bill and its Assembly companion over the last few weeks, particularly following a combined efforts watchdog report from New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) and Demos that found the bill would result in hikes in the average phone bill, the elimination of key consumer protections.

Sen. Weinberg told Blue Jersey this morning that her offices were blitzed with calls on this bill – encouraged by the coalition led by NJ Citizen Action (NJCA) and AARP- urging a NO vote. The NJ League of Municipalities has also been messaging mayors to oppose the bill. Sen. Weinberg also told us that she got calls from the pro-S2664 forces, a Grover Norquist group that seemed to confuse their own members about the bill.

Quite a few NJ newspapers have had no trouble seeing through the haze:

  • Herald News called the bill, “ill-considered legislation goes too far too quickly and could leave citizens choking in the dust.”

  • Star-Ledger: “legislators shouldn’t strip customers of protections, or a cheap and basic phone service.”

  • Home News Tribune/Courier News: “Does anyone really believe that a Verizon or Comcast, their hands freed by fewer controls, would then offer the same services, or even more, for lower rates? We don’t. The vast majority of consumers don’t. But they’re not the ones pulling the strings in Trenton.”

  • APP urges NJ Senate: “Jam the signal on the telecom ‘choice act.'”

    Full disclosure: Blue Jersey’s running an ad from the coalition opposing this bill; we’d be opposing it even if we weren’t. The coalition is broad; you can read the partners here.

    Reaction from NJCA & more, after the jump …


  • Verizon: never stops working you over

    Promoted by Rosi

    This morning I got an email from New Jersey Citizen Action warning me about a change in the law that could dramatically increase my phone and cable services bill and my taxes. The email screamed, WE MUST STOP THE SENATE from passing the so called, “Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act” known as S2664/A3766!

    Can you hear me now?Apparently the governor and our legislators, kowtowing to big corporate giants like Verizon, want to “deregulate.” That got my attention because we all know what happened when we deregulated the banks and Wall Street.

    Politicians love to attack big government. But what about big business, which is corrupting our political system at the expense of the rest of us?

    NJCA has been working hard to stop this bill from passing. It looks like you should too, especially if you, or your Mom, Dad, Grandfather or Grandmother are one of the 1.3 million residents who for decades use that phone on the kitchen wall and are on a fixed and low income. Their basic phone service is their only link to the outside world.

    Without these lifelines, they can’t call a doctor in an emergency, the pharmacy or loved ones. S2664’s proponents want the public to believe that if a 75 year old grandmother loses this service or can no longer afford it because the rates have skyrocketed, the onus should be on her to shop the market-which likely doesn’t exist for this service-or pay a higher unaffordable rate that will require her to sacrifice other necessities like food, medicine, heat and/or electricity.

    After the jump: How to get involved

    Hands Off Our Roads

    Take a look at the ad on the bottom right of this page.  It was probably conceived by telecom lobbyist/ pretend activist Mike McCurry.  (McCurry is a former press secretary for Bill Clinton.)

    What if back in the early 20th century, paving and construction companies were given control of the roads instead of the government? The argument was that we had roads because of them and that they won’t be able to develop improvements like traffic lights if we don’t give them “freedom”? They said, “why should trucking and bus companies get to make a profit from our roads?” The trucking and bus companies fought this and the paving and construction companies would say, “this is unfair, why should the shipping industry make money from our roads.”

    They would have paid off a formerly respected political operative to form a lobbying firm “Hands Off Our Roads

    PS  If you want to help me make an ad for this website defending government preservation of internet freedom email me at jennypenny at crumiller dot com.