Testimony on Indiana Senate Bill 245

The Indiana Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Utilities, and Public Policy today will hold its first round of hearings on SB 245, a sweeping telecom reform bill that will largely deregulate phone, Internet and broadband services, require the state to work in line with any future FCC rulings concerning state-level regulatory activities, and create a statewide process for video franchising. The bill, introduced by Sen. Brandt Hershman, reportedly has the support of Gov. Mitch Daniels and is slated for the legislative fast track. Additional coverage can be found at the Indianapolis Star. The article cites the usual anti-deregulatory groups, including AARP, fretting about rate increases, but balances critics with data that Indiana, despite its comparably low dial tone rates (subsidozed), lags behind other states that have deregulated telecom in cell phone and Internet connections and overall broadband penetration. The text of my testimony follows: