WCCA News

NO to MA H.4216

Tired of being hoodwinked by special interest?

It seems like Verizion is up to it again in Massachusetts, speaking of getting screwed from special interest, in terms of the DTC’s ability to ensure that carriers are providing reliable service to customers. This means that the DTC could no longer assist consumers if they experience problems with voice service, customer service response time to trouble reports, notices or billing and termination. Read more:
H.4216 : Massachusetts Bill Would Strip Existing Consumer Protections From Telephone Landline Customers and Prohibit State from Implementing Future Protections for Wireless Consumers

This Bill needs to be opposed, rejected and thrown out.

The same historic protections that enable Massachusetts consumers to enjoy and maintain access to reliable and affordable voice service are needed regardless of whether a call is made by using an old-fashioned telephone or modern wireless phone. These important protections are now threatened.

We agree with MassAccess as they write the following on this important matter we quote them here:

“At a time when the speed of technological innovation outpaces market creation, there is an obvious
need for comprehensive telecommunications regulation reform that will provide an up-to date
framework to protect consumers, preserve adequate government oversight, insure market fairness
and transparency and stimulate business growth and enhance innovation.

Within this context, H04216 is unfortunately another industry-driven, narrowly focused, piecemeal
legislation that nibbles away at consumer protection and diminishes adequate state regulatory
oversight and may inadvertently set a precedent for further “de facto” deregulation.

H04216 does little to “modernize” or even define what modernization is and who benefits from it.
Secondly it’s also not clear how economic growth will be achieved with passage of this bill, nor
who is the beneficiary of such proposed growth.

As noted by the National Consumer Law Center, H4216 harms consumers by (1) prohibiting the
state from creating or enforcing consumer protections for wireless customers; and (2) making it
impossible for most consumers to get assistance from state agencies when trying to resolve
complaints against their telephone (wireline) or wireless service carrier.
Mass Access concurs with this conclusion.

But further, MassAccess finds that proposed rule to strip regulatory oversight from the DTC over
wired service in areas with 2 voice providers, in fact applies to most of the state and is actually
deregulation of even basic telephone service; without a clear rationale or study to the effect of such
deregulation.

H04216 sets up a precedent that can undercut current municipal authority and the DTC oversight
over an industry that operates within the public right of way. This precedent fundamentally
undermines the framework that makes possible the existence of PEG Access TV stations in over 140
communities across the state.

MassAccess supports comprehensive reform and true modernization of telecommunications
regulation in a clearly outlined process led by DTC and the Legislature and with vital input of the
consumer & municipal interests, MassAccess, and the telecommunication and cable TV industry.

MassAccess urges the Legislature to reject H04216. ”