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ACTING PENNSYLVANIA GOV. SINGEL SIGNS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BILL

 HARRISBURG, Pa., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Acting Gov. Mark S. Singel today signed legislation intended to accelerate the installation of a broadband telecommunications network throughout Pennsylvania.
 Such a network would enable telephone companies to offer customers expanded services, including telephones with video screens and the capability to see movies and read newspapers through telephone connections.
 "The bill is designed to assure that this deployment is undertaken in a balanced fashion which does not leave behind the rural areas of the Commonwealth," Singel said in a signing message.
 "Such a network would provide considerable benefits by making available to businesses, residential customers, schools, hospitals, and other institutions throughout the Commonwealth a wide array of existing and future telecommunications services."
 As Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, Singel is serving as acting governor while Gov. Robert P. Casey recuperates from heart-liver transplant surgery.
 The legislation (House Bill 84) gives the Public Utility Commission authority to use an alternative methodology to determine rates for the telephone/telecommunications industry other than the traditional rate base/rate of return regulation.
 "Clearly, the PUC must determine whether the proposed rates are just, reasonable and not unduly discriminatory before allowing them to take effect," Singel said. "The burden of proof is placed squarely on the phone company seeking a rate increase to convince the PUC of the justification for the proposed increase."
 Singel urged the PUC and all interested parties to work cooperatively to complete review of phone company modernization plans in a timely fashion so that no proposals are allowed to take effect automatically through failure to act within the nine-month review period specified in the new law.
 Singel said PUC oversight is essential to protect consumers against paying more than their fair share of the cost of converting to broadband service.
 Sponsored by Rep. David R. Wright (D-Clarion), House Bill 84 takes effect in 60 days. Its provisions expire at the end of 2003 unless sooner reenacted by the General Assembly.
 /delval/
 -0- 7/8/93
 /CONTACT: John L. Taylor, deputy press secretary of the Commonwealth News Bureau, 717-783-1116/


CO: Pennsylvania Office of the Governor ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: LEG

JM -- PH015 -- 9607 07/08/93 15:36 EDT
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Date:Jul 8, 1993
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