Telephone deregulation bill passes Kentucky House

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Telephone companies would be freed from maintaining their landline networks in Kentucky’s urban areas under a bill that passed the state House by a wide margin.

Supporters, led by Democratic Rep. Rick Rand of Bedford, said the bill guarantees that landline phone customers in rural areas can keep their service if they wish.

The measure passed the House on a 71-25 vote Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate.

Gov. Steve Beshear hailed the House vote and called on the Senate to pass the bill quickly.

Beshear says the measure strikes a balance between providing consumer protection and creating economic development opportunities spinning off from expanding broadband access.

Rand says the bill will spur more investment in broadband networks across Kentucky.

Opponents say there’s no guarantee of added investments.

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