St. Louis Public Radio News
11:26 am
Fri May 9, 2003

SBC Legislation Fails in Ill. Senate

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois Senate has rejected legislation that would have given a financial boost to telecommunications giant SBC.

Critics had warned the bill would stifle competition in the local telephone business and lead to higher prices for consumers. The measure would let SBC charge competing companies more money for access to its network of telephone lines.

Sponsoring Senator James Claybourne, of Belleville, says he'll try again to get the measure passed.

SBC is required to let competitors use its lines; the rates it can charge are set by the state. But SBC says the rates
are so low that it is losing money.

The company says that threatens jobs among its $21,000 Illinois employees. Competitors MCI and AT&T argue the rates are fair.