N.J. bill deregulating phone, cable advances

    A bill that would deregulate New Jersey’s telephone and cable industry is coming in for criticism from consumer groups.

    AARP, Citizen Action and New Jersey Policy Perspective are among the groups opposing the legislation. Representatives said deregulation could lead to rate increases and cause companies to pull the plug on hard-wire phone service that many people rely on.

    But Verizon New Jersey President Dennis Bone said the company has no intention of getting rid of its basic service.

    “It’s really despicable what they’re doing in terms of scaring seniors to get them to call legislators offices and say that Verizon is going to disconnect their service,” said Bone. “It could not be farther from the truth.”

    Business groups say deregulation will help support one of the state’s largest industries and create jobs.

    The deregulation bill has been approved by the Assembly. It awaits action in the Senate.

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