Bryant signs Miss. bill cutting phone regulations

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill that removes most of Mississippi’s remaining regulatory authority over AT&T.

Bryant signed House Bill 825 Thursday. It ends Public Service Commission rate-setting power for 30,000 local-only landlines. Authority over most other AT&T phone rates ended in 2006.

The law, effective July 1, also ends AT&T’s obligation to serve as carrier of last resort for landline customers in its traditional territory, and eliminates requirements that it file service and financial data.

Public service commissioners and others fought the bill, saying it could hurt rural residents and senior citizens. The bill was amended to retain PSC complaint authority and some other regulations.

AT&T says it wants to be freed from rules competitors don’t face. The Dallas-based firm is pushing similar bills in other states.