Ameritech pays whopping fines
By Joe Baker
By Joe Baker
You may have seen them on television, the SBC/Ameritech ads claiming the company is steadily improving its service and benefiting all its customers.
The Illinois Coalition for Competitive Telecommunications charges the claims are untrue. ICCT says SBC/Ameritech recently paid another $480,613 in state fines for failing to improve its service and for obstruction of competition in local telephone markets.
ICCT said the latest fine brings the total paid by the company to $29 million since July 2000.
Since July of 2000 there hasnt been a single month that the companys service met state standards, said Jim Howard, ICCT policy director. Its clear that the company would rather continue to pay fines than improve service or open its market to competition, he added.
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Despite the huge fines for failing to open its markets to local competition, Ameritech has announced plans to ask Illinois regulators to approve its entry into long-distance markets.
ICCT notes that the company controls more than 90 percent of the local phone market. These fines show us that SBC/Ameritech continues to hinder competition and choice for consumers, and therefore has not met federal requirements to offer long distance, said Gary Mack, ICCT executive director.
If SBC/Ameritech wants to offer long distance services, let them earn the privilege as Congress intended, by opening their local markets to competition, Mack added.