Ohio House passes bill to raise telephone rates

COLUMBUS — State Rep. John Boccieri of Poland, D-59th, criticized the passage of House Bill 402, legislation that raises telephone rates and pulls service from certain markets.

“This legislation will have a devastating impact on seniors with fixed incomes and those who depend on reliable landline service,” Boccieri said Thursday. “I am concerned that we are forcing seniors toward economic hardship by increasing rates and pushing some toward cellular service, a practice which isn’t supported by the AARP or the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel.”

The bill changes current state law which ensures the availability of adequate basic local service throughout the state to a policy that allows telecommunications companies to provide service where available.

The legislation also gives the companies the ability to raise rates by $2 each year and provides them with full pricing flexibility or unlimited rate increases with little to no consumer protections from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

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