Magazine article American Banker

AT&T Leaves Many Unanswered Questions: Business Looks to Washington for Answers but Gets None

Magazine article American Banker

AT&T Leaves Many Unanswered Questions: Business Looks to Washington for Answers but Gets None

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Financial institutions moving into their second month of the AT&T divestitute still are finding little firm ground on which to set up long-term telecommunications planning.

Much of the uncertainty comes from Washington. Some recently defeated bills in Congress and delayed implementation of telephone access charges by the Federal Communications Commission have left most telecommunications experts scrapping for short-term answers to day-to-day problems and second-guessing their strategies for 1985.

Briefly, here's what an informal survey of telephone industry observers see happening in the next year and a half.

* Access charges for multi-line businesses of $6 monthly per telephone line will be assessed beginning April 3. An accompanying $2 charge to residential telephone users and charges for single-line small businesses were delayed by the FCC action until 1985. For these same users, the FCC also placed a $4 ceiling on any rise until 1990.

* AT&T long-distance rates, which were expected to decline more than 10% once access charges were assessed, now are unlikely to drop significantly in 1984, analysts say. Some observers say AT&T will pay local phone companies nearly $2 billion to replace revenues that would have been gained from delayed access charges.

* Long-distance rates traditionally have subsidized local telephone rates. Without this subsidy, local rates are expected to increase substantially to meet basic costs. In 1983 states granted more than $1. …

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