Phone price deregulation bill nears passage

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A bill to complete deregulation of phone prices in Alabama is one step away from passing the Legislature.

The House Government Operations committee approved the phone deregulation bill on a lopsided voice vote Wednesday.

The bill passed the Senate earlier and now goes to the House for a final vote.

The bill would end the state Public Service Commission's regulation of basic landline phone services for residences and for businesses with four phone lines or less.

Other landline phone services are already deregulated. Opponents, including AARP and the Alabama AFL-CIO, predict the bill will lead to higher rates.

But AT&T says competition with other phone service providers will keep prices down.

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