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Phone Bill Increase on the Horizon

July 1st, 2009 by flanews

Legislation deregulating phone companies went into effect today. The legislation allows your landline bill to go up by as much as 20 percent every year. As Whitney Ray tells us, while most people will be paying more, some will actually get a break on their bills.

For decades people trying to reach Sarah Simmons have dialed the same seven numbers. Sarah has a landline phone, but worries an increase in the amount she pays for service could force her to nix the line.

That wouldnt help me none, not with my income. I just have one income. Im a senior citizen, said Simmons.

New legislation removes state oversight of companies providing traditional landline service. Deregulating phone companies will allow rates to increase up to 20 percent every year.

Mary Jefferson says if her bill goes up shes cancelling her service.

I like my cell phone, I love my landline to, but if you cant afford both of them you make a choice and that choice would be to take the cell phone, said Mary.

Quality control and billing problems will also be out the states control. Until Wednesday the State Public Service Commissioner handled customer complaints about landline problems.

We are now regulating basic service only, single line service, said Cindy Muir.

While the changes may cost most customers more, Floridians with basic service are exempt from any increases. The legislation also expanses eligibility for Lifeline service, a program providing discounts for low income families.

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