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[ NNSquad ] CA Telecom Bill SB 1161

----- Forwarded message from rjmarti <rjmarti@earthlink.net> -----

Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 18:13:05 -0700
From: rjmarti <rjmarti@earthlink.net>
Subject: CA Telecom Bill SB 1161
To: "lauren@pfir.org" <lauren@pfir.org>
Disposition-Notification-To: <rjmarti@earthlink.net>

   Hi Lauren, - thought you might want to be aware of this bill.

   Opposition Growing to SB 1161 - The Worst Telecom Bill Ever in California
   Posted on 23 May 2012 By Mark Toney TURN

   Why has a seemingly innocuous bill, SB 1161(Padilla) attracted the support
   of some of the biggest corporations on the planet, as well as vociferous
   opposition from consumer, labor and economic justice organizations?
   According to supporters, SB 1161 doesn’t really do anything new; it just
   “affirms” existing laws.

   Fortunately, that’s the kind of deception that withers in the light of
   SB 1161 is actually the most anti-consumer bill ever introduced in
   California because it permits the telecom industry to dictate the terms of
   its own regulation, or as the case would have it, deregulation.

   The impact of SB 1161 goes far beyond its stated goal of protecting the
   Internet and fostering innovation and job creation in California’s high
   tech industry.  In fact, the bill has nothing to do with the internet.
   What the bill does is eliminate minimum standards for all telephone
   services that utilize VOIP (voice over internet protocol) or IP-enabled
   networks (internet protocol) - which have nothing to do with the
   Internet.  Its real impact will be in tying regulators’ hands. In a few
   years, when the telecom industry completes its transition to VOIP phone
   service, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will lose
   authority over all telecom, and consumers like you and me will lose all
   our rights.

   Minimum standards for public safety would disappear immediately for VOIP
   providers if SB 1161 were enacted. Emergency 911 calls during a power
   outage will be compromised for the 2.3 million current VOIP phone
   customers because VOIP providers would no longer be required by to provide
   basic disclosures relating to emergency calls and power outages.  VOIP
   providers would no longer be subject to CPUC safety rules governing pole
   attachments, or be held accountable for dangerously overloading poles, a
   major cause of wildfires. Phone service for rural customers is jeopardized
   if VOIP providers are exempt from obligations to provide affordable
   service to every customer in a service area as a Carrier of Last Resort.

   In the near future, service quality for all 10 million California
   telephone customers will deteriorate as traditional telephone companies
   redefine themselves as VOIP providers to escape CPUC standards for line
   maintenance, service restoration and reliability.  No agency would be able
   to prevent VOIP providers from favoring customers in high–income areas and
   redlining customers in rural or low–income communities.  California
   customers will lose fair billing and collection rights, protections
   against unauthorized charges, and the ability to file a complaint and have
   it resolved by the CPUC.

   The argument AT&T’s lobbyists are trying to sell in the Capitol, that this
   bill is needed to liberate the Internet from CPUC regulation, is
   ridiculous.  The CPUC doesn’t, and couldn’t, regulate the Internet.  And
   you need look no further that the telecom companies’ own advertising to
   affirm that the majority of their services have nothing to do with the

   · “AT&T U-verse Voice service is provided over AT&T's world-class managed
   network and not the public Internet.”

   · “FiOS Digital Voice…is not the same as the services you get with a
   little Internet adapter for your modem and phone, and it does not ever
   touch the public Internet.

   · Comcast keeps the calls on their private broadband network until our
   switch delivers the call on the PSTN (public switched telephone network).

   California is only the latest battleground in a state–by–state campaign
   launched by AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time–Warner that has been
   successful in protecting VOIP providers from regulation in 20 states,
   paving the way for the decimation of state regulation of phone service.
   The telecom industry has employed nearly identical tactics in every state
   in which they have sought this extraordinary protection, i.e., insider
   lobbying combined with campaign contributions, sneak attacks to avoid
   public debate by rushing legislation, and promises of jobs, jobs, and more

   SB 1161 is a sneaky way for the telecom industry to insure the elimination
   of future regulation and minimum standards, under the guise of protecting
   the Internet.  As more and more policy makers wake up to the fact that
   VOIP telephone services are not the same thing as the Internet, the more
   difficult it will be for SB 1161 to prevail.




   Visible links
   1. http://leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1161&sess=CUR&house=B&author=padilla
   2. http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_1151-1200/sb_1161_cfa_20120521_123827_sen_comm.html

----- End forwarded message -----

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org 
 - Data Wisdom Explorers League: http://www.dwel.org
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com 
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren / Twitter: http://vortex.com/t-lauren 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
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