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Tell the Governor You Want Him to Sign HB 1683 Into Law!

January 1, 2002

Network Access Service

Governor Jeb Bush is considering legislation that will not only benefit consumers, but will also benefit Florida ’s economy.  HB 1683 was passed by the Senate and House during the 2002 Regular Session.  The Governor must decide on whether or not to veto the bill, sign it, or to simply to allow the bill to become law without his signature.

So-called “consumer activist” groups, with unfettered access to the media, are heaping lies and misinformation on this legislation, demanding that the Governor veto this good bill.  Predictably, the state’s newspapers have taken up their cause without checking the accuracy of these consumer groups’ wildly inaccurate claims.

The Governor understands and is generally supportive of the bill, but he needs your help.

Please review the information provided below and then access on the Internet www.ftia-action.com and email the Governor expressing your support for the bill.  He needs to hear from the business community on this pro-competitive legislation that without question would be of benefit to Florida business and Florida ’s citizens.

HB 1683 will:

  • Expand Lifeline eligibility to 125% of the federal poverty income level and provide that long-distance customers will receive Lifeline benefits also.
  • Lower long-distance rates by almost $400 million and pass the savings along to consumers. At the same time, local rates will be increased gradually over a two to five year period in a revenue neutral manner.  

  • Eliminate AT&T’s $1.95 in-state connection fee.  

  • Attract residential competition, bringing more choice to residential customers
  • Benefit Florida ’s economy by stimulating new investments and providing new jobs.  

 Other points to consider:  

  • In 1995, the Florida Legislature determined that competition in the local telecom market was good public policy for the State of Florida Competition brings lower prices, new service offerings, innovative technology, and helps promote economic development. In 1996, the United States Congress reaffirmed the benefits of this public policy by enacting the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.

  • While competition in the business market has flourished, competition has been slower to come to the residential market.  

  • Adjusting Florida ’s outdated telecom pricing model will help stimulate competition in the residential market. HB 1683 and SB 988 will eliminate the outdated telecom pricing structure put in place in the early 1900’s.