FCC: No changes in Net access charges

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The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday approved a new plan for phone rates that will cut long distance rates while increasing those for a second line, but make no changes in Internet access charges. The Internet Action Coalition, which had fought phone company attempts to levy Internet access charges, praised the FCC and said the FCC action showed there was no evidence to justify Internet charges. Consumer groups, however, worried that phone charges will go up for two phone families.

In a statement, Steve Case, chairman-CEO of America Online, said his company recognized that the FCC announcement "will have a disproportionate impact on Internet service providers and their consumers. However, on balance, we're prepared to accept these additional costs because the FCC has taken off the table the possibility of additional access charges targeted at Internet use."

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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