Giant Phone Monopolies Push Anti-Consumer Legislation: Ratepayers Can Expect Higher Bills and Poor Service

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Senate Bill 245 Would Lead to Price Increases and Allow Telephone Companies to Eliminate Unlimited Local Calling at a Flat Rate
Although SBC/AT&T is the major lobbying force behind Senate Bill (SB) 245, the legislation would also apply to Verizon/MCI. SB 245 would:

  • Allow telephone companies to automatically increase rates consumers pay for basic telephone service over the next three years. Price increases for basic phone service could be as high as 30 percent in some areas, according to the associate dean of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue.
  • Allow phone companies to charge by the minute for local calling, thus eliminating unlimited calling at a flat rate (Basic Local Service).

Senate Bill 245 Would Give Monopoly Telephone Companies the Ability to Set Their Own Local Telephone Rates

SB 245 Completely Eliminates the Ability of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to Regulate Rates and Quality of Service for Monopoly Telephone Companies

  • Beginning in 2009, the IURC would no longer be able to put any limits on the rates telephone companies charges for basic local phone service.
  • Beginning in 2009, the IURC would no longer be able to regulate telecommunications service quality. The bill would render the IURC powerless in situations like the SBC service-quality melt-down of 2000 in Indiana and in the Midwest.

Indiana Does Not Need to Eliminate Basic Local Service in Order to Provide Advanced, High-Speed Internet Service in the State
SBC AT&T argues that it needs complete deregulation of local phone service in order to deploy broadband Internet technology throughout its service territory. However, the IURC has already ordered the major telephone companies to deploy these services:

  • By June 30, 2008, SBC/AT&T is mandated to make broadband Internet services available to 77%of its customers, with at least 30% of deployment in rural areas.
  • By December 31, 2007, Verizon is mandated to make broadband Internet services available to 73% of its customers, with at least 40% of deployment in rural areas.

SB 245 is Completely Unjustified Because SBC/AT&T Already Has a Stranglehold on Every Area of Telecommunications Service in the State

SBC is Bigger and Badder After Buying AT&T
SBC recently bought AT&T, its largest competitor for local phone service. SBC/AT&T is:

  • The largest provider of wireless service in the country, with nearly 50 million customers.
  • The largest provider of DSL (high-speed or broadband) Internet service in the world, with 5.1 million DSL Internet lines.
  • The largest provider of local phone service in its monopoly territories, in Indiana controlling 93% of local telephone lines.
  • The largest provider of long-distance service in its monopoly territories.
  • Twenty to thirty times the size of its nearest competitor in any of its monopoly territories nationwide, with estimated annual revenues of over $90 billion.

PLEASE ACT NOW: Call Governor Mitch Daniels and Your State Senator Today! Tell them to oppose SB 245!
Contact Information:

The Honorable Mitch Daniels
Statehouse
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317-232-4567
Indiana State Senate
Statehouse
Indianapolis, IN 46204
800-382-9467
317-232-9400