St. Louis Public Radio News
1:59 pm
Fri May 9, 2003

Blagojevich Gives Boost to SBC

Springfield, Ill. – Governor Rod Blagojevich has signed legislation giving a financial boost to telecommunications giant SBC.

His action came just hours after the state Senate put the bill on his desk. The measure passed 30 to 24.

Blagojevich says SBC is one of the state's biggest employers and the bill will help protect the company's 21,000 Illinois workers.

The governor rejected arguments that it will lead to higher prices for local telephone service. SBC is a major campaign donor to Blagojevich.

The bill lets Texas-based SBC charge competing companies more money for access to its network of telephone lines. SBC is required to let competitors use its lines, and the rates it can charge are set by the state.

SBC says the rates are so low that it is losing money, but critics say the law will reduce competition.