Under a bill approved by an Alabama Senate committee and supported by AT&T, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) would no longer regulate or supervise the rates or quality of service for basic phone service starting in January 2011. Approved by voice vote, the bill could see debate on the full Senate floor as soon as next week.
Supporters of the bill say that AT&T needs deregulation to compete with companies providing phone service over the Internet, given the decline in landlines over the past couple of years. Opponents say that rural rates will go up, hurting those who can least afford to pay more.
Alabama is not the only state to face phone deregulation. California and North Carolina have revised basic service rates in the last 12 months, and Qwest is seeking a basic service price hike in Colorado
- Birmingham News covers the story. Blog.
N.C. lifts pricing regulation on AT&T phone services - FierceTelecom
CA jacks landline rates - FierceTelecom
Qwest asks for basic service price hike in Colorado