WASHINGTON — In an effort to help small companies that sell long-distance phone service, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday ordered a change in the way local telephone companies bill non-AT&T long-distance companies for the use of some local lines.
But the move will increase costs for the larger competitors, MCI Communications and GTE's Sprint.
The new system, changing the charge from flat rate to a per-minute fee, will go into effect Jan. 1, 1986.
The local companies now charge the same for each hookup, based on a presumed average usage per line of 9,000 minutes a month.
Allnet Communications Services Inc., the fourth-largest long-distance company, said it used 6,900 minutes per line. In comparison, Sprint has told the commission that its average line is in use 1,200 minutes per month.
The non-AT&T companies are connected to the local phone lines at a rate that is supposed to be 55% cheaper than American Telephone & Telegraph pays, because they do not get the same high-quality connections.