Controversial Phone Bill Heading For Possible Vote Tuesday

Proposed legislation to deregulate much of the telephone business in Alabama is scheduled to be debated Tuesday in the Alabama House.

The bill passed the Senate after four days of debate earlier this session. It's the first item on the House's work agenda for Tuesday. The bill is supported by Alabama's two largest phone companies, BellSouth and CenturyTel. It would remove much phone service from the regulations of the Alabama Public Service Commission. Customers with regular phone service would still be regulated. But those whose services have been combined or bundled together -- such as local phone service, long distance, call waiting and Internet -- would be unregulated. Supporters say the bill will make phone companies more competitive in the changing telecommunications market. But opponents say the bill would give BellSouth a near monopoly and lead to higher prices.

Courtesy: Alabama Associated Press

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