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LETTERS

SBC's Lobbying Drive Reproved

November 09, 2003

As "Baby Bells Call on Tech for Aid" (Oct. 28) demonstrates, it should be increasingly clear that SBC is waging a coast-to-coast, big-dollar campaign from Washington to Sacramento in an attempt to kill local phone competition.

Publicly, the company says it supports competition in the local phone market. But behind the scenes, SBC is attempting to strong-arm California legislators, local officials, its vendors and now federal officials in an attempt to eliminate local phone competition.

In California, SBC wants the Public Utilities Commission to double the wholesale rates it can charge competing phone companies to provide alternative local telephone service to residential and small business customers. If it's successful, SBC's rate increase not only will mean reduced choice and competition but could lead to higher rates for all local phone customers.

Competition works and provides lower prices, better service and more investment in new technologies, infrastructure and jobs.

So far, regulators have resisted SBC's underhanded lobbying tactics to re-monopolize the local phone market. They should stay the course.

Paul Fadelli

Executive Director

Californians for

Telecommunications Choice

Los Angeles

*

Regarding "Rivals Seek Probe of Baby Bells' Meeting" (Oct. 31):

The Baby Bells were permitted by the Federal Communications Commission to enter long-distance markets in all 50 states under the 1996 Telecommunications Act only by opening their local exchange networks to competitors at reasonable rates.

Under that pro-competition umbrella, newcomers have restrained prices and sparked innovative phone service bundles while capturing more than 20 million users.

The Baby Bells' $40-million lobbying fund to seduce Congress, the White House and the FCC into destroying these fledgling rivals exposes their treachery in gaining long-distance authority.

Bruce Fein

Former general counsel, FCC

Washington

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