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OHIO'S MAJOR TELEPHONE COMPANIES PROPOSE INCENTIVE REGULATION FRAMEWORK TO PUCO

 OHIO'S MAJOR TELEPHONE COMPANIES PROPOSE
 INCENTIVE REGULATION FRAMEWORK TO PUCO
 COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Ohio's major telephone companies today announced that they have proposed to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) a new regulatory framework that would maintain reasonable prices and high-quality service for telephone customers while providing telephone companies with incentives for increased investment in the state's telecommunications infrastructure.
 "Our telecommunications network is critical to Ohio's economic development and an increasingly high level of investment is required to keep it current with the rapid changes in technology," said K. Patrick Collins, executive vice president of the Ohio Telephone Association.
 "At the same time, we need new regulatory approaches that recognize that the current telecommunications industry is no longer a monopoly and, in fact, is subject to competition that grows every day," Collins said.
 The industry proposal envisions a broad framework that individual telephone companies would use to develop specific incentive regulation plans with the PUCO.
 Collins said that under the industry framework, a telephone company would commit to specific investments in the telecommunications infrastructure as part of its incentive regulation plan. These investments would focus on advanced technology necessary to support Ohio's economic development and help address issues in such areas as education.
 The incentive portion of the proposal derives from a new approach to the regulation of various levels of telephone service. The most basic telephone services would remain under a relatively high degree of regulatory control in order to assure continued reasonable pricing and high quality of those services. Greater regulatory flexibility would be assigned to the more competitive and discretionary services and market place forces would be allowed to guide their pricing and availability.
 The proposal also advocates a streamlining of the regulatory process to reduce costs and to enable the industry to introduce new services more rapidly. However, the PUCO would retain its oversight authority and would receive periodic reports on the progress of incentive regulation plans implemented by the companies.
 "With this proposal in place, the industry will be in a better position to increase investment in the telecommunications infrastructure and to meet the challenges of increasingly competitive markets," Collins said. "We believe it is urgent that Ohio implement this framework because other states and nations -- which are our competitors -- are now accelerating the modernization of their telecommunications systems."
 The major telephone companies advancing the proposal are ALLTEL, Central, Cincinnati Bell, GTE North, Ohio Bell, and United.
 -0- 2/10/92
 /CONTACT: K. Patrick Collins of the Ohio Telephone Association, 614-221-3231/ CO: The Ohio Telephone Association ST: Ohio IN: UTI SU:


LC -- CL011 -- 8424 02/10/92 15:46 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 10, 1992
Words:438
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