New Jersey Deserves the Benefits of Fair Telecommunications and Cable Competition
Monday, December 19, 2011 • 6:46am
Earlier this year, I joined several New Jersey labor and business groups in supporting S. 2664, the Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act. Advocates like me were playing defense against an aggressive campaign led by AARP to defeat the bill. And now, six months later and with this important legislation still pending, we continue our efforts to educate consumers about the benefits of the bill - working hard to get “right” what AARP continues to get “wrong.”
AARP has done just about everything it can to mislead seniors into believing S. 2664 would have perilous consequences, when in fact, that message couldn’t be further from the truth. The legislation if enacted would allow telephone and cable companies to compete for customers on a level playing field rather than under rules that hinder competition . It would give New Jersey residents, no matter their age, more choices when selecting products and services at affordable prices.
Where there’s competition, consumers have the ultimate say about what happens in the market because they can choose to take their business elsewhere if they are unhappy. Any smart company knows that to retain existing customers and attract new ones, they must meet their customers’ demands through superior service and competitive pricing.
Telephone companies in New Jersey are heavily regulated and government oversight of these companies has not kept pace with the communications revolution. In order to ensure telephone and cable companies continue making the infrastructure investments the state needs, red tape needs to be cut and regulations must be brought into the modern era.
With a modernized regulatory framework, New Jersey will set itself on a path to permanent economic recovery. Businesses will look to expand or operate here and our job market will improve. Despite what AARP and its members might say, New Jersey residents – particularly seniors—will be better served. For too long now, New Jersey consumers and businesses have paid for more government than they wanted or needed, that trend must end if New Jersey wants a secure economic future.
S.2664 is important to our state’s future, and should be considered by the Senate before the end of the year. To succumb to AARP’s fear tactics will make New Jersey one of the last, rather than one of the first, states to embrace the innovation and jobs that a vibrant telecommunications market can bring.
Karen D. Alexander is president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Utilities Association.
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