In late December, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) gave the state's two largest telephone companies, Cincinnati Bell and AT&T flexibility to raise rates on a number of services. Cincinnati Bell wasted no time in taking advantage of the PUC's decision and immediately raised the rate for basic local telephone service in the Cincinnati and Hamilton exchanges by $1.25 per month, resulting in basic local phone bills going up to as much as $19.20 per month. The changes went in to effect on January 5.
A similar decision in December has given AT&T the freedom to raise rates for basic local telephone service by as much as $1.25 per month. In addition, the company can now raise rates for its Caller ID service by as much as 50¢. While AT&T has not yet announced that it will be raising its rates, we have rarely seen an instance where a rate increase has been allowed and the company has not taken advantage of the decision. Any rate increase based on this decision could affect 136 local calling areas in Ohio, or 70% of AT&T's total service territory in the state. Low-income subscribers who participate in the Lifeline program will be exempted from any rate increase, but could be affected by a Caller ID fee increase.
Source: Telecommunications Research and Action Center. http://www.trac.org