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Telephone Rate Plans Said to Frustrate Competition

Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1996

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel has gone on record at the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) as opposing any application by Cincinnati Bell Telephone Co. to amend its present alternative regulation plan to set rates using a price cap tied to the consumer price index, and to deaverage rates.

The Consumers' Counsel claims that the amendment must be considered as a new plan due to the substantive changes it proposes. It adds that, if enacted, the changes would impose rate hikes and discourage consumer choice for local calling.

In a separate PUC filing, the company asked to be classified as a rural carrier, which would exempt it from the competitive interconnection requirements of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 as well as from the PUC's competitive local service guidelines. Robert S. Tongren of the Consumers' Counsel calls the requests "unfortunate indications that the company is not ready, or willing, to compete on a level playing field." t

Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.

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