Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Telephone Deregulation Bill Endorsed

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Telephone Deregulation Bill Endorsed

Article excerpt

Foes argued a telephone deregulation bill hands monopolies "a license to steal," but a House committee on Tuesday ended a public hearing by endorsing the measure with no opposition.

House Bill 1815 would remove Oklahoma's biggest telephone service provider, Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., from rate-of-return regulation by the state Corporation Commission.

"Real competition does not exist and will not exist when a new carrier files a request to compete," said Dick Hilbert of the State Legislative Committee of the AARP. "It would appear it was written by the local exchange carriers and for the local exchange carriers and not for the people of Oklahoma." The bill's author, Rep. Larry Adair, D-Stilwell, said he intends to create more competition, protect rural telephone service and give customers more choices. The measure goes to the full House and, if passed, must be considered by the Senate. Corporation Commission Chairman Cody Graves asked lawmakers to leave it up to his utility-regulating board to draft rules for competition. "We were the first state in the country to promulgate rules after the passage of the Federal Telecommunications Act," Graves said. "I would hope you all would give the commission time to finish the work we've already started." Graves pledged that by next summer, when interchange agreements are approved between Southwestern Bell and AT&T, "there will be local exchange competition." He pointed out a conflict in that the measure would remove the commission from oversight of telephone rates, while at the same time allowing it to set parameters for competition. Under the bill, a current provider choosing to operate under new "incentive regulation" would cap basic local rates for two years. Depending on the degree of local competition, companies could price services either at the market rate or at guidelines determined by the Corporation Commission. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.