California Labor Federation Urges Legislature to Reject Anti-Consumer SB 1161
Bill a Power Play by Large Telecom Corporations, Leaves Consumers at Risk
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive-Secretary Treasurer Art Pulaski:
“As telecommunications technology rapidly shifts, consumer protections are at severe risk of taking a backseat to corporate profits. That’s exactly what’s happening with SB 1161 (Padilla), a disingenuous bill pushed by telecom giants to deregulate Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which is rapidly becoming the dominant mode of voice communications in California.
“Hiding behind a phony façade of protecting the internet from regulation, large telecom corporations are trying to game the system in their favor. SB 1161 doesn’t protect the internet from regulation. Internet regulation is a federal issue determined by the FCC. What it does do is give telecom corporations free rein in California to cut jobs, weaken worker safety and avoid consumer protections relating to maintenance and fees. It allows corporations like AT&T, through its U-verse technology for home phone lines, to avoid even the most basic regulations that could prevent large-scale outages in the event of a disaster. Even more disturbing, deregulating VoIP phone lines leaves consumers vulnerable to a host of privacy issues.
“Bills similar to SB 1161 have been pushed in other states by the extreme right-wing American Legislative Council (ALEC), which is notorious for placing the interests of big corporations over protections for workers and consumers. We urge the legislature to see this bill for what it is: a power play by large corporations at the expense of everyday consumers. If legislators are truly interested in protecting their constituents, they must reject SB 1161.”