According to a recent article in Business First, the state of Kentucky may soon see some significant changes in state telecom laws as a result of an initiative spearheaded by AT&T Kentucky.
AT&T Kentucky wants to change an old law that mandates that all telecom service providers must provide regular copper wireline service in addition to any alternative telephone solutions they may offer.
AT&T Kentucky holds that this policy is outdated and that they should be able to eliminate old wireline services and instead provide only VoIP service which is cheaper than wireline and easier to support. The state of Kentucky has resisted AT&T’s proposals for a few reasons: firstly, there is a general suspicion among many people that wireless phone services are not as reliable as wireline service, and secondly, some Kentuckians are concerned that the less tech-savvy elderly may be unable to successfully implement and use VoIP in their homes.
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Of course, people who have switched to VoIP usually don’t notice any significant differences in voice quality, but there will always be those that are hesitant about a new technology or a change to an old system. In the second case, many elderly people likely don’t realize that the end user experience with Residential VoIP service is no different from the end user experience with any other telephone service.
AT&T is confident that their proposed bill will be passed. They have assured Kentucky area customers that no one will be disadvantaged by the switch to VoIP technologies
But what does this news mean for the general public and their telecom services? Generally, a switch to VoIP service will result in lower phone bills for customers, and VoIP services are subject to fewer taxes than regular wireline service, so across the board customers should start to see lower phone bills with lower associated tax expenses.
State telecom laws in Kentucky have reportedly not been changed since 2007. They are one of only two states, the other being West Virginia, to have so infrequently altered telecom laws
Though VoIP was officially debuted in the mid-90s by a small Israeli telecom company, the last few years have seen the most active growth on VoIP years. As a result, any states with laws that mandate that all telecom companies must provide wireline would prevent VoIP companies from growing up in the state.That is, companies that were initially wireline can more easily provide VoIP service than VoIP companies can provide wireline, so there couldn’t really be any local Kentucky-area VoIP companies under the current laws
With the change in this law, a lot will change for the Kentucky-area telecom situation. AT&T customers will see prices go down as a universal switch to VoIP systems will allow AT&T to spend less on all of their customers. At the same time, this law would allow more telecom companies to compete in Kentucky as more small VoIP companies would then be able to compete more easily with the older wireline companies.