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FCC Puts Qwest-Ameritech Alliance on Hold

Bloomberg News

The Federal Communications Commission ordered Baby Bell Ameritech Corp. to halt its phone marketing alliance with long-distance provider Qwest Communications International Inc. until the agency completes a broad review of whether such arrangements should be permitted. Companies opposed to the arrangement “have raised serious questions involving core provisions” of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC said. Ameritech and Denver-based Qwest can continue to serve customers that had already signed up under the plan that packages their services, but they must stop marketing the package until the FCC completes its review within 90 days, agency spokeswoman Liz Rose said. Diane Primo, president of product management for Chicago-based Ameritech, said the FCC decision “penalizes consumers who simply want a better deal than they have with anyone else today. [Long-distance companies] AT&T; and MCI want to shut down this marketing program for one reason: to snuff out price competition by preventing a small long-distance upstart from making its low rates known to consumers.”


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