The Federal Communications Commission today voted to approve an increase in the $2 monthly line charge paid by residential telephone subscribers to as much as $3.50 over the next two years.
The first increase would add 60 cents to customers' bills on July 1, an additional 60 cents in December, 1988, and up to 30 cents in April, 1989.
Commissioners unanimously endorsed the proposal, saying it would reduce long-distance rates and discourage large-business users from abandoning the public telephone network in favor of cheaper alternatives.
"The American public will come out ahead," said FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler. He said the increase will mean that in the long run, "the American people can look forward to affordable telephone service."
The increase will be used in part to finance a program called Linkup America, a financial aid program that will pay half, or up to $30, of the cost of telephone installation charges for low-income households.