Bill to cut Miss. phone service rules sparks fight

A bill before the Legislature would wipe out the obligations of AT&T and some other phone companies to serve expensive customers and would limit the Public Service Commission’s remaining authority over those firms.

Public Service Commissioners Brandon Presley, a Democrat, and Leonard Bentz, a Republican, are fighting the move, saying customers need regulators’ intervention to get their problems fixed. Other phone companies are opposed to the bill, saying it could cut the connection fees collected by small rural telephone companies.

AT&T said remaining regulations are a burden not faced by competitors, saying some of those competitors are trying to keep rules in place to hobble the state’s largest provider of traditional landline telephones.