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Section: Pavement Preservation and Preventive Maintenance Program

Statute: 48:2-21.22

1. The Legislature finds and declares that: a. In 1991, the Legislature acted to exempt competitive telecommunications services from traditional utility regulation upon a finding that such regulation is generally not necessary to protect the public interest in the competitive marketplace. However, in its report to the Governor and Legislature on the implementation of P.L.1991, c.428 (C.48:2-21.16 et seq.) the Board of Public Utilities has found that where a captive market exists for competitive telecommunications services, market conditions are not always able to protect the public interest. b. In particular, the board has received many complaints concerning "alternate operator service" (AOS) companies which provide operator assistance for collect, third-party billed, and credit card calls, usually at pay phones on the premises of hotels, restaurants, hospitals or airports, with such establishments receiving a commission for calls placed through the AOS arrangement. Given the provisions of P.L.1991, c.428, there has been some debate on the extent of the board's authority to protect consumers' interests with regard to AOS companies. c. It is appropriate, therefore, that the Legislature act to clarify the powers of the board with regard to AOS companies, and to specifically authorize the board to take appropriate action, including, but not limited to, rate regulation, to protect the interests of consumers of alternate operator services upon a finding of the board that such action is necessary to protect the users of those services. L.1995,c.172,s.1.

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