Consumer groups: Vote ‘no’ on cable deregulation

    Consumer groups are appealing directly to New Jersey’s 40 state senators to reject a bill that would deregulate cable television and telephone service.

    The Senate is scheduled to vote today on the issue. The AP reports that the bill would relax regulations on competition and rates.

    The Assembly previously approved the measure by a vote of 66-7 with 4 abstentions.

    Advocates say the bill will spur modernization and competition. Critics say consumers will pay more for basic phone and cable service and get fewer protections and less efficient customer service.

    Twenty-three consumer groups signed the letter sent Friday to the senators. It urges them to vote ‘no.’

    The bill has bipartisan support in the Legislature. Verizon New Jersey and the state’s cable companies also support it.

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