Regulators Consider Lifting Price Caps on SBC in Some Areas
By Matt Sepic, KWMU
St. Louis – The Missouri Public Service Commission may change the way it regulates the state's largest phone company.
Price caps now dictate how much SBC can charge customers for phone service in most areas. The caps have been in place for about eight years.
They're meant to ensure prices stay low in the absence of competition from other phone providers.
Natelle Dietrich is an economist with the Public Service Commission.
"The rate adjusts each year based on what the Consumer Price Index does," Dietrich said. "For non-basic services like caller ID, call waiting and things like that, they can increase the rates by up to eight percent per year.
Dietrich says if enough competition exists in a given area, SBC would be able to set its own rates.
here are about 80 phone companies in Missouri. But in many communities, SBC is the only game in town.