The decision this morning by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to almost totally deregulate basic telephone services for New Jersey consumers does not serve the interests of the public. It only serves the interests of the telecommunications utility companies, predominantly, Verizon.
To add insult to injury to the public, the BPU utterly failed to seek or accept public testimony and stakeholder input in the decision-making process. This is reprehensible behavior by a public board.
Ultimately, this decision will harm New Jersey consumers, especially those many hundreds of thousands of homeowners, many who represent our state’s most vulnerable residents. Those services deemed to be “competitive” by the Board today are in fact not competitive when it comes to reliability and price. And ask anyone whose cell phones failed or whose VOIP-based power-dependent phone was rendered a useless brick following Superstorm Sandy about competitive reliability. What’s “competitive” about services that cost more yet do not perform as well when they are needed most?
We will be carefully reviewing the BPU order in the coming days and all legal options are currently under consideration.
Dave Mollen, President
AARP New Jersey State