Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Quick Action Sought on Wide-Area Calling

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Quick Action Sought on Wide-Area Calling

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter Noting that only one objection in the far-reaching wide area calling plans for Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton was a positive sign, members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission expressed a desire Wednesday to act quickly to get the plan under way. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. filed a motion in the comprehensive case, objecting to putting revenues generated by new rates for wide-area calling _ estimated at $11.6 million by the commission _ into the intrastate toll pool. The toll pool generates some $230 million annually for distribution to 39 telephone companies operating in Okla- homa. Commissioner& Bob Anthony said it was uplifting that the issue, which affects half of the population of the state, has received only one negative comment. He and Commissioner J.C. Watts Jr. heard& arguments on Southwestern Bell's& motion Wednesday. Flat-rate basic calling areas will be expanded to a 35-mile radius surround- ing Oklahoma City and Tulsa and a 20- mile radius around Lawton. Oklahoma City and Tulsa callingzones will become the largest in the nation. Nineteen new calling zones will be added to the 22 existing in the Oklahoma City area. Wide-area calling plans _ credited to Anthony _ resolve 80 percent of the applications for expanded area telephone service pending at the commission, which number about 25. Timetables for implementation of the plan are to be filed by the 13 telephone companies affected within 30 days of the May 22 order. Southwestern Bell has asked for another 30 days. "I think the commissioners should make every effort to respond to this as quickly as possible," said Anthony, adding the motion should be answered in a matter of days. Independent telephone companies& favor the plan. The ones serving areas involved in the wide-area calling plans would lose an estimated $36 million in revenues, including costs of network rearrangement. That would partially be offset by including revenues from the new rate design in the toll pool. "It's clear from the lack of& objection. . .that this commission has done a good job," said Bill Bullard, attorney for four independent telephone companies. "To suggest the boogaboo, there's just not a problem." A point of contention for Southwest- ern Bell is that there are 39 telephone companies that participate in the toll pool, not just the 13 involved in the wide-area calling plans. Southwestern Bell also noted ongoing problems with the toll pool, which is the subject of an inquiry at the commission. …
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