Saturday, March 21, 1998
Rate freeze
won't preclude increases

The Cincinnati Enquirer

While Cincinnati Bell Telephone's new rate agreement would freeze basic residential service rates through July 1, 2001, that doesn't mean residential customers won't see increases in their monthly phone bills.

The rate freeze covers only the charge for basic local service. Long-distance charges and custom calling features that customers can elect to add will increase monthly bills.

Question: What's the impact of the settlement on charges for services such as call waiting and caller ID?

Answer: The plan would increase custom calling features overall $1.3 million. Currently those features are priced separately for business and residential customers. Under the new plan there would be a single charge for each service. Some of the charges will increase and some will decline.

For example, call waiting now costs $4 a month for a residential customer and $7.50 for a business user. The new single rate is $5. Three-way calling, now $2.75 for residential users and $4 for businesses, would be $3.

Q: Will there be an additional charge for a second access lines?

A: No. But pending changes in federal rules for second line access charges could result in an increase separate from that in CBT's rate plan.

Q: The agreement allows CBT to assess a late payment fee for past-due bills for the first time. How much is it?

A: The charge is 1 1/2 percent on bills 30 days past due.

Q: What impact will the agreement have on long distance rates?

A: None. Although CBT says under terms of the $8 million reduction in long-distance access charges included in the plan, AT&T and MCI will be required to pass through their portion of the savings to customers in lower rates.