Telecom Legislation

CASE STUDY: Telecom legislation, a “battle for the ages.”

FiberOptic.jpgUtility deregulation was sold originally as a “once-and-done” deal. But for the telephone companies, the issue doesn’t ever seem to go away entirely. Thus, Triad Strategies represented the state’s largest telephone company for four years. Our work involved direct lobbying in Harrisburg and with our congressional delegation, along with media relations and grassroots outreach.

Triad had a role in shaping legislation that paved the way for the company’s statewide rollout of its fiber optic or “fiber-to-the premises” service. In the closing days of a legislative session, the General Assembly capped two years of wrangling, negotiating, arm-twisting, cajoling and shouting by approving a sweeping telecom statute that can affect every consumer and business in the state. One legislative staffer described it as a "battle for the ages."

Triad’s services included the care, feeding and encouragement of an independent advocacy organization, Consumers First!, and working with community leaders and local officials around the state to support overall project goals.

Triad's team played a pivotal role in delivering that bill for our client. We succeeded in changing the focus of the debate. Instead of arguing over technical details of telephony that only an engineer or forensic accountant could truly understand, we identified the unintended consequence of the opposition’s preferred outcome. If the opponents of telephone competition were to succeed, the Commonwealth would need to establish a new state bureaucracy employing hundreds – all funded by more than a billion dollars in hidden consumer taxes over the ensuing decade.

By making the focus of the debate “no new bureaucracy/no new hidden taxes,” our side was able to hold sway. It’s an example of the Triad approach of identifying the true “high-ground” issues and taking control of the debate.