Missouri House backs decreases in phone access rates

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 | 12:14 p.m. CST; updated 12:27 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 17, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY, — The Missouri House has endorsed legislation that could lead to changes in Missourians' monthly phone bills.

The legislation would require a gradual, 10-year reduction in the rates that local telephone companies charge each other to connect callers in one part of the state to customers of a different phone company in another part of the state.

The House gave the bill initial approval Wednesday by a 121-35 vote. It needs another vote to go to the Senate.

Missouri's intrastate access rates are among the highest in the nation and also are higher than the federally set rate for calls between states. Access charges typically are passed on to customers.

Lawmakers say the legislation could reduce phone bills for customers in some areas but increase them for others.


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