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Thursday, March 6, 2008


The House of Representatives on March 6 approved legislation to eliminate some existing state regulations on telephone companies, including certain billing, maintenance and customer service requirement. HB 1779 sponsored by state Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, also establishes rules governing Internet-based phone service.
Under current law, phone companies face less rate regulation if they operate in competitive markets, which are determined on an exchange by exchange basis. Under HB 1779, if 55 percent of a company’s service area in the state is deemed competitive, its rates are deregulated even in its non-competitive markets. Critics of the bill say the new standard for determining competition will lead to substantially higher rates in rural areas served by a single company.

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