TECHNOLOGY & TELECOMMUNICATIONS
AT&T; Accused of Illegal Program in California: Pacific Bell said AT&T; Corp. illegally launched a program to bill residential customers separately for long-distance service without getting approval from California regulators. The main unit of San Francisco-based Pacific Telesis Group said it filed a complaint about AT&T;'s billing practices with the California Public Utilities Commission late Thursday. Basking Ridge, N.J.-based AT&T; began mailing letters to more than 1 million of its customers in California last month saying they would begin getting separate bills. The long-distance giant plans to begin offering local phone service in California later this summer and said it needs to separate its billing from Pacific Bell, its soon-to-be competitor. However, Pacific Bell said AT&T; didn’t get its letter to customers approved by the PUC, as required, and that the letter doesn’t give customers a choice of continuing to receive one phone bill. “We are certainly in compliance with any regulations regarding customer notification,” an AT&T; spokeswoman said.