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NNI AND PROBE RESEARCH ANNOUNCE NEW FINDINGS ON TELEPHONE CHARGES: INSTALLATION FEES UP 879 PERCENT, DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE UP 600 PERCENT

NNI AND PROBE RESEARCH ANNOUNCE NEW FINDINGS ON TELEPHONE CHARGES: INSTALLATION FEES UP 879 PERCENT, DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE UP 600 PERCENT
 NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The New Networks Institute, New York, in conjunction with Probe Research, Inc., of Cedar Knolls, N.J., both telecommunications market research and analysis firms, today announced highlights of research findings from "Telephone Charges in America, 1980-1992," the first report from a five-part study entitled "10 Years Since Divestiture: The Future of the Information Age."
 Research analysis reveals:
 -- Telephone installation fees have increased nationwide 879 percent from 1980 to 1991.
 -- Directory assistance pricing nationwide has increased 600 percent from 1980 to 1991.
 -- All telephone users are paying for service one month in advance, while late fees are charged on services not yet rendered.
 -- No solid research exists on the differential between flat rate vs. measured service, yet some Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) are offering only measured service.
 -- Only 8 percent elect to have measured services when both measured and flat are offered.
 -- The telephone bill is a direct cross subsidization of deregulated and non-regulated businices without the increase in services," said Bruce Kushnick, president, New Networks Institute (NNI). "These findings are a wake up call to the public and regulators that the Information Age is going to be brought to only those who can afford it."
 In July 1992, statistics released from the "10 Years Since Divestiture" study showed an overall increase of 315 percent nationwide for local telephone services. Those statistics did not include installation fees or conversion from flat rate to measured service. (Flat service is unlimited local telephone service, while measured service has a per-call or per-minute charge).
 The "Telephone Charges in America" report shows that some telephone companies are moving people to measured service without substantiation of the customer's usage pattern. "We find that increases to local service get into 'Tele-Babble' not reasonable research," said Kushnick. "Our research shows that telephone companies and regulators have done little to understand the dynamics of the flat rate vs. measured service pricing and the information presented is in fact completely contradictory," said Kushnick.
 Probe Research, co-sponsor of the "10 Years Since Divestiture" series of reports, recently published several studies on RBOC accounting systems. "Probe's research reveals that the basic accounting by the RBOCs for local telecommunications services is riddled with inconsistencies," said Victor Schnee, president, Probe Research.
 "Issues arise around customer service and billing practices as well, not simply from the point of view of prohibitive installation fees, but also in the procedures of billing the customers. For example, the Regional Bells uniformly charge for service one month before usage, and many companies impose late fees for services not yet rendered," said Kushnick.
 "Telephone Charges in America, 1980-1992" is the first of five reports presented as part of "10 Years Since Divestiture: The Future of the Information Age" and will be released November 1992. The report examines pricing and service on residential local services offered over the last decade. The statistics presented are from primary sources including telephone directories, telephone tariffs, national and state regulatory bodies and actual telephone bills.
 Probe Research, Inc., is internationally recognized as a leader in expert-in-depth strategic analysis, news on telecommunications, information movement, management and processing technologies and markets. Through its newsletters, conferences, market studies and consultancies, Probe has established itself as the authoritative source in such varied disciplines as wireless, voice processing and telecommunications networking, covering the broad spectrum of information industry markets.
 New Networks Institute is a telecommunications research and market analysis firm based in New York. The institute sponsors research and reports, sponsors forums and conferences and provides for ongoing study and advocacy of developing new communications ideas and solutions.
 -0- 9/22/92
 /CONTACT: Bruce Kushnick of New Networks Institute, 212-837-7867; Chuck Sheppard of Probe Research, 201-285-1500; or Sonya Gabay or Jean Young of Young & Associates, 301-309-9404, for New Networks Institute and Probe Research/ CO: New Networks Institute; Probe Research, Inc. ST: New York IN: TLS SU:


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Date:Sep 22, 1992
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