Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley intends to challenge the constitutionality of a new law that removes the “carrier of last resort” mandate from AT&T and other layers of oversight from phone companies operating in Mississippi.
Presley, the Commission’s lone Democrat, said in an interview Monday that he sees the potential for rural customers to have their landline phone service eliminated, now that AT&T is no longer mandated by law to provide service to those areas. Presley also said the law’s removing single-line phone service rates from PSC jurisdiction violates the Mississippi Constitution.
Specifically, Presley cites Article 7, Section 186, which requires the Legislature to pass laws that allow for the “supervision” of telephone companies, among others, either by a commission or other entity.
“I intend to challenge this on behalf of little communities like Randolph and Dennis and Dumas – little places where customers have been paying a phone bill all these years, and they don’t deserve to have the rug jerked out from under them or have to pay out the nose is this bill stands,” Presley said.
Presley, who is challenging the bill as a private citizen and not in his capacity as a public service commissioner, said he hopes to file court papers in Hinds County Circuit Court either late this week or early next week.