PFC Rules in Favor of SBC

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A ruling by the Public Service Commission may mean bigger phone bills for customers of smaller phone companies.

The state regulators' decision lets SBC charge those competitors two dollars more every month for each SBC phone line they rent.

"What we've had in the past is a subsidized rate for our competitors," SBC External Affairs Director Michael Ehr said.

"What we're trying to do now is get to a point where they're no longer subsidized and we cover our cost."

The increase from $10 per line per month is actually a compromise as SBC officials had wanted to jack the rate up to $21 a month.

A government watchdog group claims competing phone companies will pass the expense along to their customers. 24/7 Telecom, a local company who rents SBC's lines refused to comment on the decision.