New Illinois Law Targets Tardy Service by Phone Companies

From Associated Press

Gov. George Ryan signed legislation Thursday that gives telephone customers rebates or use of a cell phone if they have to wait more than five days for a new line or more than 24 hours for repairs.

Customers also will get a $50 credit or free installation if phone workers fail to show up for an appointment without giving 24 hours' notice.

The measures are included in a law intended to bring better service and more competition to Illinois' phone industry.

The new law also requires Ameritech to offer flat rates for local service, no matter how many calls customers make. Ameritech and Verizon together serve almost all the state's local customers.

Under the law, the state will no longer limit what Ameritech can charge for business service and residential extras such as call forwarding. Those changes will take effect over two years.

The bill also gives the poor more help to pay for phone service and provides $30 million to offer rural and urban areas better access to high-speed Internet connections.

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