Ky. may deregulate landline service amid concerns

States push for landline deregulation amid concerns that rural areas will be left behind

Associated Press

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) -- Lawmakers in Kentucky have two days to vote a bill that would loosen a requirement that telephone companies provide low-cost line service to all customers.

States have been revisiting the century-old idea of regulating phone service as a public utility as people drop landline service. Phone companies such as AT&T Inc. argue the old rules are outdated, burdening them as they compete with wireless and cable companies that provide phone service but lack the same regulation.

AT&T says the legislation would allow them to bring better wireless and internet service to rural areas in Kentucky where landlines remain in wide use. But people fear the bill would endanger landlines before the new technologies are ready.

The legislative session ends on Tuesday.

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The legislation is Senate Bill 88.

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