Washington — FCC says hold the phone on long-distance fees
The Federal Communications Commission, yielding to protests from the public, Congress, and state regulatory officials, tentatively voted Thursday to delay long-distance ''access'' charges for residential and small business telephone costumers until Dec. 1. The FCC said it needs time to assess the effect of divestiture on universal telephone service.
The commission also ruled the flat monthly charges, which had been set to start April 3 at $2 a month, should be phased in gradually until 1990 and should climb no higher than $4.
The FCC decided the rate that competing long-distance phone companies, such as MCI Communications and Sprint, pay to connect to local lines should be set at 55 percent of what American Telephone & Telegraph pays, until the quality of the connection is improved to equal that of AT&T's.
The commission said it would meet next Wednesday to issue a final ruling on the decision.