Non-traditional telephone service, less regulation of traditional phone companies and a hope for more competition are all wrapped up in a telecommunications bill heading to the governor.
House sponsor, Rep. Ed Emery (R-Lamar), brought HB 1779 to the floor after the Senate made minor changes. It often is referred to as the VOIP bill. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol which basically translates into getting telephone service over the Internet, primarily from cable companies. The bill intends to even the playing field by ridding phone companies of some regulation. It adjusts the role the Public Service Commission plays in regulating the industry.
Though the bill sails to passage in the House on a 121-to-26 vote, some members express concern that deregulation will move too quickly and that telephone rates, especially in the rural Missouri, will rise.