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FCC says hold the phone on long-distance fees

The Federal Communications Commission, yielding to protests from the public, Congress, and state regulatory officials, tentatively voted Thursday to delay long-distance ''access'' charges for residential and small business telephone costumers until Dec. 1. The FCC said it needs time to assess the effect of divestiture on universal telephone service.

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The commission also ruled the flat monthly charges, which had been set to start April 3 at $2 a month, should be phased in gradually until 1990 and should climb no higher than $4.

The FCC decided the rate that competing long-distance phone companies, such as MCI Communications and Sprint, pay to connect to local lines should be set at 55 percent of what American Telephone & Telegraph pays, until the quality of the connection is improved to equal that of AT&T's.

The commission said it would meet next Wednesday to issue a final ruling on the decision.

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