State Senate advances telecom reform bills

April 25, 2014

Mike and Tammy Story on their computers.John DaleyA slate of major telecommunications reforms, aimed, in part, at improving rural broadband access, cleared a key hurdle in the Colorado state Senate today.

Five bi-partisan bills make up the package, which would deregulate new technologies, update telecom laws, and help fund the building of broadband infrastructure.

A key proposal would encourage companies to invest in underserved areas, by allowing them to use money in a $54 million fund that now helps pay for high-cost landline service.

“The stakeholders have come to the table and everybody seems relatively happy, and I think it’s a good situation for the state,” Senator Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) said. 

Critics warn by deregulating, companies would no longer have to maintain phone lines, harming the elderly, disabled and low income.

All five bills sailed through the Senate on a unanimous voice vote.

They need one more Senate vote, before going to another committee to resolve differences with the House.