January 31, 2010
NJLM Statement on S-2664
“Market Competition And Consumer Choice Act”
Today the Senate Economic Growth Committee released S-2664 which would fundamentally alter the regulation of telephone and cable service. The Assembly companion, A-3766, will be heard Thursday at 2:00PM by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.
The League’s preliminary analysis indicates this bill would among other things:
- eliminate the requirement that cable companies provide municipalities with access to public, educational and government (PEG) channels;
- eliminate the requirement that cable companies provide basic service and internet to municipal buildings and schools at no charge;
- eliminate the requirement that cable companies provide equipment and training for access users; and
- it would reduce the franchise fee payable by certain cable companies that have converted from a traditional franchise to a system-wide franchise.
While some of these services and benefits have been required under both traditional franchises and the systemwide franchise, such requirements would no longer exist upon passage of S-2664. The Senate Committee did approve an amendment to review the impact of the legislation within two years of passage, however the League asked the committee to postpone action on this sweeping reform of cable and phone regulation pending review of a Fiscal Note on the impact of the bill.
Assistant Executive Director Michael Darcy
MDarcy@njslom.com or (609) 695-3481 extension 116.