Ameritech fined again

Ameritech fined again

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

SBC/Ameritech has been hit with another fine. The Illinois Commerce Commission Monday levied a fine of $1.8 million against the telephone utility.

The penalty was imposed because Ameritech failed again to meet minimum service standards set by the ICC. Ameritech was charged a similar fine in the past for the same lack of performance. It also had to pay a penalty of several million dollars to the federal government for allegedly suppressing competition in Illinois.

Last month, SBC/Ameritech presented a bill to the state legislature that would strip the ICC of nearly all its power to enforce laws or impose fines for bad service, therefore making it unable to protect Illinois consumers.

It would allow Ameritech to raise rates at will with no requirement for better service. Consumer groups support other proposed legislation which would foster competition and provide low rates, quality service and choice.

“The only way to get SBC/Ameritech to pay attention to consumers and regulators is to hit them where it hurts—in the pocketbook,” said Gary Mack, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Competitive Telecommunications.

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