Southern telecom deregulation marches on

Landline deregulation throughout the south is moving forward, with bills moving forward in Alabama and Tennessee.

The Tennessee Senate was scheduled to vote Monday on a bill to deregulate the price of basic landline phone service; a separate bill awaits another hearing in the House. Under the bills AT&T could charge whatever it wanted in major metro areas; currently, the rate set by state regulators is $13.50 per month. The legislation would exempt rural areas from deregulation.

AT&T says it is losing about 20,000 landline customers per month in Tennessee, as both residences and business move to alternative services, such as cell phones and competitive phone offerings.

The Alabama Senate passed a bill last week that would end regulation of basic landline service by the Public Service Commission starting in 2011. The bill is now going to the Alabama House for debate.

AT&T also has deregulation efforts going on in bills this year in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

For more:
- The Tennessean has a nice article.
- Last week, deregulation efforts moved forward in Alabama. Article.

Related stories
Verizon fights VoIP regulation in Oregon - FierceVoIP
Phone companies move deregulation forward in Florida - FierceTelecom
Alabama Senate committee moves forward on state phone deregulation