FCC Won’t Delay AT&T; Rate Plan

From Times Wire Services

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission today rejected a senator’s request to delay a controversial overhaul of AT&T;'s rate structure despite widespread congressional criticism of the proposed action.

FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick told Sen. J. James Exon (D-Neb.) he will press ahead at a March 16 commission meeting with the “rate cap” plan to change the way American Telephone & Telegraph charges customers. He said the part of the proposal covering interstate service could go into effect July 1.

The new plan would place a cap on what AT&T; could charge customers but would allow the company to keep any funds after costs as profit. Congress let the plan die last year because of concerns that windfall profits could result at the expense of consumers.