Phone deregulation won’t lead to higher prices
Proposed phone deregulation
Competition keeps prices down
In a letter published Monday, AARP argues that the proposed phone deregulation legislation would lead to big price increases, but that’s not true.
Current Florida law has an annual 20 percent price cap on most telephone services — a cap that has been in place since 1995 and would remain under the proposed bills. But that hasn’t led to big price increases for services. Since 1995, Verizon’s increases for these services have averaged less than 5 percent annually.
That’s so for one simple reason — competition. Verizon competes vigorously with cable companies, wireless companies, Internet companies and more, all offering voice, Internet and video services. This competition continues to accrue to the benefit of consumers in the form of competitive pricing and ever-increasing value.
Competition also drives a level of service that consumers demand. Over the last decade, Verizon has lost roughly 40 percent of its access lines. This is not a complaint. Competition is a fantastic consumer benefit we all enjoy. However, these customers showed no concern about switching to a provider that is not subject to the same rules. The point is, the Public Service Commission’s 1960s-era rules are out of touch with today’s consumer, and the rules are applied in a discriminatory fashion only to companies like Verizon and none of the companies engaged in our community’s robust competitive environment.
The goal of these bills is to ensure that consumers can compare providers on an equal basis before making purchasing decisions.
Finally, the notion that Tampa Bay’s 55-plus community is somehow less sophisticated than others is plainly false. Statistically valid surveys and focus groups Verizon recently conducted found that many of Tampa Bay’s 55-plus residents are benefiting from the competitive marketplace just like everyone else. My guess is that AARP’s preferred mode of communication with its members is not via the U.S. Postal Service or the telephone — it’s likely via e-mail and the Internet.
Michelle Robinson, president, Southeast Region, Verizon, Tampa