Tuesday, January 7, 2003
COLUMBUS (AP) -- SBC Ameritech will be allowed discretion in pricing services such as second phone lines and call waiting in exchange for freezing rates on basic service and caller ID, under a plan the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved Monday.
Ohio's largest local phone company, with more than 4 million lines in 61 Ohio counties, became the second phone company, after Sprint, to be approved for "off-the-shelf" regulation the PUCO began offering in August.
Under the alternative regulation plan, SBC would cap the price of basic service for the life of the deal and cap for two years the price of second-line service and call waiting. After two years, price increases would be limited to 10 percent each year. For services such as third lines and call tracing, SBC could raise prices after two years to as much as double the initial rate.
Most other services, such as custom calling packages, could be priced at market rates.
PUCO Chairman Alan Schriber said the plan allows competitive pricing in the local telephone market while securing rates for telephone customers' most basic needs.