by Fiona Morgan
Consumer protection language that was recently added to House Bill 1180, the "Consumer Voice and Investment Act," was completely stripped from that bill in the House Public Utilities Committee on Tuesday.
The cable and telephone industry are lobbying for this bill as they roll out new triple-play services that bundle telephone, TV and high-speed Internet services. This bill would allow them to raise rates with effectively no regulation.
Language proposed by Rep. Bill Faison would have exempted from this deregulation any area in which fewer than 90 percent of households have reliable wireless service and/or broadband Internet service. (see section 1h of the second version.)
The backers of this bill include anti-tax groups bankrolled by conservatives and the telecom industry:
The bill is scheduled for vote by the full House today, May 13.