A company spokeswoman would not confirm specific prices as reported today in USA Today, but the Baby Bell is planning to submit proposals to state utility commissions soon that would offer an unspecified amount of free hours for a flat monthly fee, with per-minute charges thereafter. The new prices will save customers anywhere between 15 percent to 80 percent on their bills for ISDN, according to the Bell Atlantic spokeswoman.
Rate changes must be approved by the state utility commission before they could take affect in states served by Bell Atlantic.
Any rate cut is welcomed by consumer advocates who complain that artificially high rates are impeding the widespread use of Integrated Services Digital Network, which provides data transmission rates about four times faster than the 28.8-kpbs modem speeds commonly used over regular phone lines.
"We would applaud any decrease in prices," said Mally Becker of the Ratepayer Advocate Division of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. "We don't see the point of offering advanced telecommunications services and then pricing it to exclude so many residential users."
The Bell Atlantic price cuts follow last week's announcement that Pacific Bell has proposed an $8 monthly rate hike for its ISDN services.