SBC trying to eliminate our choice of local phone carriers

If you’re an Illinois resident and want to have a choice in who you want for your local phone service, Vote “NO” on “senate bill 1518”. Contact the Illinois senator’s office at: 217-782-2000 and leave a message for the senator to vote “NO”. Evidently the special interest group representing SBC Ameritech (and likely other local services) want’s to eliminate your choice to go with another local phone service so they can keep the local phone service prices high.

Senate bill 1518 takes away your local phone service choice and once again you may experience a price hike for local phone costs.

We just got some competition in the local phone service sector in 2001 and now apparently it seems SBC Ameritech (now simply called SBC) wants to take that choice away from us again.

Anyone using Z-Tel local and long distance phone services should have gotten a voice mail message about the bill in the senate—check your voice mail.

I called Z-Tel to confirm what was in the message after doing some research into what the bill was about. It has to do with local services providing Broadband and causing it to not be regulated. Basically in para-phrase form it says:

The Commission shall not … impose or enforce any regulation upon a provider of high speed internet access service or broadband service in its provision of that service, or upon the facilities used to provide that service …

See the bill here: http://www.legis.state.il.us/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=3&GA=93&DocTypeId=SB&DocNum=1518

At first glance, this doesn’t sound threatening, but when you understand the technical inferences, you realize that this will eliminate other local phone service providers as they are considered broadband service companies. Z-Tel is one such local phone providers that is considered a broadband customer of SBC in a manner of speaking.

If the bill passes it would force every Z-Tel local phone customer to go back with SBC Ameritech for local phone service and once again pay per minute charges on local phone services. SBC wants this because they have lost substantial amounts of direct local customers to Z-Tel and now want to basically force all Z-Tel customers back with SBC.

This is very bad for all people who want a choice in local phone services. Call the number above and also send an email to the senators in Illinois to vote NO against senate bill 1518.

To send email to the senators of Illinois, see this page: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=IL

On that page are 2 senators. You’ll need to fill out a form for one and for the other an email address is provided as: dick@durbin.senate.gov.

I don’t live in Illinois, but did I hear you right? You pay (or have paid) per minute charges for local calls?

That is so bizarre.

We have such a thing as local toll calls with SBC. Local toll calls are anything beyond the 15 mile range and cost a per minute charge. The longer you talk within the local toll area, the more a customer is charged. Local toll calls also cost more than long distance calls to other states. Also, if you call within 15 miles, we are charged per call made, though it’s a flat rate charge.

With Z-Tel, we pay one flat rate all the time for both local, local toll area and long distance. You can see why many of us have switched to Z-Tel because we are not nickle and dimed by each call we make. It makes our phone bill very simple. It’s this new service that is making SBC look like crooks and they know it. So they now attempt to introduce this senate bill 1518 in such a way as to not alarm the public, but spells doom for Z-Tel customers in Illinois. I suspect that other states will have similar bills proposed by SBC wherever they are providing service in those states. Everyone must be on the lookout for SBC. SBC has also done another despicable thing but that is more of a concern for Webmasters and Web site owners.

People need to know about the SBC manuevering of phone services. Hopefully people realize the threat.

Take care people :slight_smile:

UGH! I Hate SBC! With the passion of a thousand fiery suns! In the whole universe there are not enough exclamation points to describe the depth of my hatred.

That’s why I cancelled my land line and use my Sprint PCS exclusively. Those ratf*ckers won’t get another red cent from me if I can help it.

(Do you think I can say “ratf*cker” to a congressman?)

Well… that term might not bid well or perhaps it may get the point across very strongly. Suppose it depends on how the congressman takes it ;). There’s many times I’m tempted to use such words… I usually avoid them.

You’d really get a kick out of what SBC is attempting to do with navigation buttons on Web sites. They’re trying to enforce some stupid patent saying anyone with navigation on their site is infringing on their patent. They’ve already issued an infringement notice to Museum Tours web site: http://www2.museumtour.com/sbc.html

Yes, they are trying to charge them for the navigation buttons at the top. Museum Tours said it will cost them a ton of money to pay for the frivolous patent. It has the Webmaster community in an outrage over this gross irresponsibility by the USPTO, not the first time the Government has messed up.

SBC executives are greedy to say the least. Now they are trying to stick it to the Z-Tel phone customers.

It sounds to me like your state wants to make broadband internet service a utility, like the local phone company. In the long run, believe it or not, this would lower the cost of the consumer because there will only be one company putting plant in the ground serving the same amount of customers as if there were two.

It also sounds like Z-Tel leases its lines from SBC.

All of the competitive local exchange carriers (like Z-Tel) that have popped up the last few years lease their lines from carriers like SBC. I believe the Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated this. The problem with this is that SBC is not only forced to lease their lines at below cost, but they are also responsible for all maintenance to those lines.

One of the downsides to this is the reluctance of local exchange carriers (like SBC) to upgrade their networks. Why should SBC upgrade their network if a company like Z-Tel is going to benefit from it without paying for it?

It’s a very unfair system and one of the contributing factors to the massive layoffs that have taken place in the telecommunications industry. I don’t blame SBC for trying to push legislation like this, and I expect to see other local carriers do the same thing.

You do know why the 1996 Telecommunications act was passed don’t you? Sure it is all well and good for SBC and other ILEC’s to whine and complain now that they got what they wanted, which was the right to offer long distance service. Now that SBC (I don’t know about other baby Bells) can offer long distance service they want to put their local competition out of business and regain their monopoly in an even more powerful position.

SBC just wants to level the playing field. How is it fair that companies like Z-Tel can undercut SBC’s pricing while using SBC’s network?

Let’s say that it costs SBC $20 to maintain one phone line. However, in the interest of “competition,” they are told to lease those lines to a competitor for $15. On top of that, they are told that they have to continue to maintain those leased lines. SBC’s profits go down, costs go up, they reduce their network upgrade budget, customers lose out on those upgrades and valuable people are laid off. Just so Joe Shmoe can offer “competition.”

In the long run this so called “competition” does nothing but hurt the customers who use these services (whether it’s through SBC or Z-Tel or Mom’s Telephone Service).

Z-Tel is paying SBC. I don’t know where you get the idea that Z-Tel is paying less than what it costs to maintain and upgrade phone lines. When Ameritech (the original local carrier) mergered with SBC, they had savings to gain from that deal. They were suppose to pass on those savings to the consumers but did not until Illinois CUB basically forced them too.

Now that we finally have competition in the local market, SBC wants to choke them out. Z-Tel is not nickel and diming us to death like SBC was. If SBC would do like Z-Tel does and provide one flat rate, perhaps they’d do better too. Because they are greedily counting their pennies, it’s probably costing them more. It’s their fault they are wasting their dollars. Ameritech (now SBC) has a record of wasting money. SBC has a history of over charging. Z-Tel found a better way and SBC doesn’t like it that they cannot continue to charge extra high fees.

On average I save about 30% on phone charges. They want to take away our choice in local/long distance services. That is just plain wrong whichever way you look at it. SBC is not doing what they are suppose to be doing. SBC and Microsoft have something in common—forced monopoly to control pricing and to keep it high too. People in Illinois are tired of paying much higher rates that almost every other state out there. Z-Tel gives us a good rate that we deserve and now SBC is crying foul. It’s their fault for refusing to lower their rates.

We should not have to pay for their greediness and have it forced on us. We deserve a cheaper choice. Z-Tel gives that choice.

Anyway, if you are interested in keeping cheaper rates, call and/or email your congressman about the Senate bill above. It’s in your interest to fight for lower rates and to keep competition going.

FYI, the printed material that CUB provides is much better than the site that is online for CUB, but you are free to look at some of the stuff on phone companies at the CUB site. CUB really needs to get rid of all that java applet linking—yuck. If you click on the links, be sure you have Acrobat reader because many of the links are PDF downloads. Thankfully CUB has kept Ameritech/SBC at bay to a degree. I’d hate to see what our phone bill would have been if it weren’t for CUB pushing to keep rates down some.

Hey how come I can’t edit my posts??? Dang URL above didn’t come out right. Can a moderator fix this post and also fix it so that I can edit my post for mistakes?

The false term “monopoly” has come up again.

Considering that my local phone company has lost over 1/4 of its customers over the past three years to cellular service, this term hardly fits (citing a local commercial).

If you don’t like your land-line, get a cell phone. I will state again that my cell phone is not only cheaper than my land-line (which I no longer have), it is also more reliable.

I believe most of us know that they don’t have an absolute monopoly. Monopoly is being used loosely here as a descriptive behavior. As for cell phones, that’s not a good option for everyone especially for dialup users who spend lots of time on the net.

Anyhoo, if people are pro-choice for local phone service in Illinois, call or email the senator (info in first post). I for one want a choice for lower rates and I imagine others want a choice too :slight_smile: