TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey may soon get rid of most of the regulations now governing the cable TV and telecommunications industry and consumer advocates are none too thrilled about it. The measure, which has already cleared the state assembly, is now in a senate committee.

Opponents like Stefanie Brand, Director of the State Division of Rate Counsel, in effect a consumer advocate, say it’ll take most protections off landline phone and cable TV service, hurting the poor and elderly.

“Consumers still very much want to see, for example, if their cable is out for more than 6 hours, that they get a credit on their bill. Those types of things would be at the discretion of the company.”

Industry proponents contend the regulations get in the way of the realities of today, since many have shed their corded phones and there’s lots of TV alternatives like FIOS and satellite. Besides, the best consumer protection, in the industry’s view, is for people to take their business somewhere else if they don’t like what they’ve got.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio

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