There is currently a bill moving through the Florida Legislature called the “Consumer Choice and Protection Act” that will affect consumers in Tallahassee. The name of the bill is disarming and leaves little room for opposition. Who can be against consumer choice and protection?
However, when you get past the title and dig a little, an interesting question arises. Why does the telecommunications industry need to spend millions of dollars in campaign contributions and hire over 100 lobbyists to get a bill with such a friendly title through the Florida Legislature?
Here are some facts on the “Consumer Choice and Protection Act”:
- The bill attempts to redefine basic service so that more residential customers fall under higher rates.
- Under the bill anyone with basic phone and one vertical feature, such as caller ID, will be subject to higher rates.
- The bill will remove authority from the PSC to set minimum levels of service.
- What the bill is attempting to secure for the industry through legislation was turned down by the Florida Public Service Commission.
- AARP is against the bill.
In these tough economic times, all businesses are trying to squeeze every little bit of revenue from their customers. It looks as though the telecommunications industry has decided to take one last pass at the senior citizens and those who can only afford basic telephone service.