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Are Tennessee lawmakers setting the stage to raise your phone bill?

Staff Report • Apr 13, 2009 at 12:00 AM

According to a report in the Tennessean the state Senate is scheduled to vote today on a bill pushed by AT&T to deregulate the price of basic land line phone service. Critics such as the AARP and the state attorney general's office say could lead to higher prices.A separate bill on the same topic still faces another hearing in the House Commerce Committee.Under each bill, AT&T could charge what it wants for a basic land line phone — currently set by state regulators at just $13.50 a month for the major metro areas. Taxes and fees are added to that price.Successful passage would get rid of the last vestige of price regulation for communications services in the state. Already, regulators don't weigh in on the price of cell phone, cable TV or Internet services.The latest move follows AT&T's successful lobbying effort that led to passage of a bill in the state legislature last year to allow the company to sell TV service statewide without needing franchise agreements from each municipality where it wants to do business.

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