Telecommunications Reform Bill Moves Forward

A telecommunications reform bill passed out of a Senate committee on Tuesday, a bill similar to one that failed last year.

The big change to this bill is that it allows telecommunications providers to negotiate statewide video franchising contracts. State Senator Brandt Hershman (R-Wheatfield), who authored the bill, says a five percent video franchising fee will have to be paid to all communities served. Larger cities already receive this percentage.

AARP Spokesperson June Lyle says deregulation will allow larger providers to undercut prices and drive out competition.

Hershman says similar laws in other states show that not to be true.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

(STATEHOUSE) The Senate Homeland Security, Utilities and Public Policy Committee today approved Senate Bill 245, a telecommunications reform proposal authored by State Senator Brandt Hershman (R-Wheatfield). The measure passed 8-2.

“Today marks a first stop toward empowering consumers, giving them more access to technology and lowering their monthly bills,” Hershman said. “This bill will make Indiana a haven for telecommunications jobs and investment, and I am thrilled with this start.”

The full Senate could vote on SB 245 as early as next week. The deadline for Senate bills to advance out of the Senate is Feb. 2.

Groups in favor of the telecommunications measure included the Discovery Institute, Star Financial Bank, FreedomWorks, TechPoint, Verizon, the Indiana Exchange Carrier Association, AT&T, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Telecommunications Associations, TDS Telecom, Ball State University Professor Steve Jones and the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

The bill would allow deregulation of broadband and telephone services as well as give video franchising authority to the state. Other provisions that give incentives to improve broadband infrastructure will bring an estimated 20,000 jobs and $7 billion in new investments to the state, according to FreedomWorks.

State Senator Brandt Hershman represents District 7, which includes Jasper, White, Carroll, Tippecanoe, Clinton, and Howard counties.

Source: Senate Majority Caucus