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Some telephone rate hikes are unjustified, says judge

The multimillion-dollar telephone rate hikes being requested by local phone companies are unjustified, according to the federal judge who oversaw the court-ordered breakup of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company.

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Some local Bell operating companies are ''seizing on divestiture'' to gain price increases they wanted all along, United States District Court Judge Harold Greene said Friday. He called on state and federal legislators and regulatory agencies to check rate-hike requests more closely.