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Rep. Curtis Seidlits, Jr. (D) has filed a 245-page telecommunications bill, H.B. 2128, in the Texas legislature. The bill seeks to move regulated local exchange carriers (LECs) to a more competitive arena. It also addresses issues such as infrastructure improvements, telemedicine, and the information highway. H.R. 2128 culminates two years of study by the Joint Interim Committee (House and Senate members) on Telecommunications on how to reform the way Texas telephone companies are regulated. The bill would freeze basic rates for four years for LECs that elect flexible regulation, but also give them more control over the prices of some services they now provide.
Texas Public Utilities Commission chairman Robert W. Gee applauded the bill: "While removing some of the existing burdens of regulation, it charges the PUC with the responsibility to adopt rules to ensure that consumers and all competitors are protected from predatory conduct." He added that "[t]he PUC is prepared to carry out the bill's mandates if adopted into law."
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