Wednesday, December 06, 2006

FCC Rulings, Mergers Hurting Consumers

Go figure. The FCC and court rulings since 2005 have crippled competition for local phone service and broadband. As a result, prices are going up. VZ & BST were reprimanded earlier this year for tacking on fees to DSL, after Congress granted a discount to the consumer service. Embarq & BST are both adding surcharges to local phone bills in Florida to recoup hurricane costs. The Chicago Trib reports:
"Many customers who called AT&T Illinois to get cut-rate phone service deals advertised in their November phone bills are being told the plans don't exist, leaving customers confused and AT&T embarrassed."
Ill. like many states, including NC & FL, passed laws to unregulate phone companies in 2005 and 2006. [Thanks!]
"In return for establishing three cut-rate phone plans and restraining rate increases for other plans, AT&T was freed from most traditional state oversight of what it charges consumers for phone service in Illinois."
The Tulsa World is reporting:
"AT&T Oklahoma's residential and business customers will be hit with price increases Jan. 1 ranging from 5 percent to 60 percent on a series of stand-alone services and optional features, company officials said Friday."
At the same time, when the Bells roll out Triple Play, they give away the store to grab market share. (Obviously this will be a short term price plan). For example, BST's $99 Plan:
"BellSouth began marketing a $99 monthly triple-play package of telephone service, high-speed-Internet access and a choice of either Cingular Wireless mobile-phone service or DirecTV programming in south Florida."
And finally has the story about VZ DSL Lite going up from $15 to $19.99. Yeah, competition is really working. Powell and Martin shouldn't be allowed to make economic decisions until they get they pass a Economics 200 class. Another Bonehead decision by the FCC, an agency charged with our speectrum and communications policy. Of course, when you have a Prez that can't spell Communications....

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