The March 8 Herald-Leader editorial launched a number of misguided attacks on a landmark telecom regulatory reform bill which legislators have debated over the past four sessions of the General Assembly.
Despite a constant campaign of misinformation from the Herald-Leader — of which this most recent editorial is yet another example — the initiative to encourage increased investment in new communications technologies to Kentucky has passed both the House and the Senate overwhelmingly, with strong support from Gov. Steve Beshear.
This reform, the result of four years of debate and compromise, is good and necessary for the commonwealth, which is why it overwhelmingly passed both chambers with bipartisan support from legislators, consumer groups, community organizations and thousands of individual consumers from across Kentucky.
The editorial gets the basic facts wrong. While it is true that the government granted the nascent telecommunications industry a monopoly a long time ago, the industry has been far removed from monopoly status for more than 30 years.
Moreover, the editorial wrongly insinuates that consumers risk losing their landlines because of this bill.
In doing so, it conveniently ignores the many consumer safeguards built into the bill and the experience in numerous other states that have passed even more extensive regulatory reform — without one customer losing their landline.
AT&T and other telecommunications companies invest billions of dollars to maintain and upgrade communications networks every year, more than any other industry. This new law helps make Kentucky a far more attractive place for this investment.
It is too bad that the Herald-Leader chooses to remain stuck in the past and to ignore the need for and the benefits of, reform in how the vital telecommunications industry is regulated.
Fortunately, the citizens of Kentucky have chosen to join the future.