A bill backed by AT&T that would deregulate telecommunications in Kentucky has passed the state Senate.
Senators voted 34 to 4 on Thursday in favor of the bill. It would end requirements for telephone service providers to offer landlines to urban areas. It would also prohibit the Public Service Commission from arbitrating consumer complaints over broadband services.
AT&T contends the legislation will allow it to invest in high-speed broadband and Internet telephone services, and that the bill won’t affect existing services in rural areas.
But Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council told lawmakers the proposed legislation would hurt consumers.
“Today’s regulated system includes strong protections for consumers, which are threatened by AT&T and other carriers who seek little or no government oversight of digital communications, and elimination of state or federal oversight over IP networks,” he said.
Last year, AT&T spent over $100,000 lobbying the General Assembly.
The measure now goes to the state House.