Wis. Legislature passes telecom deregulation bill - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wis. Legislature passes telecom deregulation bill


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Legislature has passed a bill that would deregulate the state's telecommunications industry.

The proposal passed both the Senate and Assembly on Wednesday with bipartisan support.

It represents the first changes to the state's telecommunications statutes in nearly two decades. The measure essentially prohibits state regulators from approving telecommunication rates, auditing providers, investigating consumer complaints and regulating data services such as high-speed Internet service.

Supporters say deregulation would create jobs and help providers set up broader Internet access. Opponents say those claims are exaggerated and the plan would gut consumer protections.

The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Scott Walker who is expected to sign it into law.

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