EDITORIAL: Regs Lock N.M. Into Outdated Technology
Jan 17, 2013 (Albuquerque Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Wireless phone numbers outnumber land-line accounts by more than two to one in New Mexico. And yet the state Public Regulation Commission is still requiring telecommunications company CenturyLink Inc. to push land-line service on customers rather than invest in and provide a broader range of services including high-speed Internet.
In other states CenturyLink offers consumers promotional deals like discounts on land lines when bundled with other services. New Mexico regs do not allow that type of promotion.
So if you live in rural New Mexico and want to watch Gov. Susana Martinez's State of the State address on a live Web stream The PRC staff and the Attorney General's office, both of whom oppose deregulation, can't hear you. Want an exorbitantly expensive and outdated land line Now you're talking their language.
CenturyLink is asking the PRC to relax its control over pricing and monitoring and enforcement of service quality so it can compete with wireless and other providers not regulated by the commission.
Valerie Dodd, the company's vice president and general manager for New Mexico, says "we want a more level playing field, where the marketplace dictates things, not regulation."
The world has moved on since the monopoly days of Ma Bell and the Baby Bells. Successor CenturyLink has seen its customer base drop almost 40 percent in 10 years, showing PRC regulations need to move on as well. The PRC is expected to get recommendations from a hearing examiner on the request next month.
New Mexico consumers deserve a robust telecommunications marketplace. That's what PRC regulations were intended to ensure, but that's what PRC regulations are preventing.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.
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