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Telephone Deregulation in Mississippi: A Survey of Self-Identified Registered Voters Age 18+

Under legislation effective in July 2006, nearly all regulatory oversight has been lifted from most local telephone rates and services in Mississippi. As written, the law allows telephone companies to increase the basic service rate once yearly by as much as 100 percent plus an adjustment related to the consumer price index. The new law also removes – from all but basic phone service – the protection of the state Public Service Commission which previously had the authority to assure the fairness of rates charged for telephone services and the adequacy of the service provided.

This survey of age 18+ self-identified registered Mississippi voters gauges their attitudes and opinions regarding telephone deregulation, and finds that:

  • 93 percent are not aware that the new law removes the protection of the Public Service Commission for additional telephone services, and 86 percent are unaware that the price of basic telephone service could be doubled each year.

  • 79 percent support repealing the new law and restoring the Public Service Commission’s authority, and 77 percent favor repealing the law to remove the potential 100 percent annual rate increases.

  • 52 percent say they would be more likely to vote for state
    representatives or senators who support repealing the new law deregulating phone service.

The random telephone survey of 803 age 18+ Mississippi residents who identified themselves as registered voters was conducted for AARP by Alan Newman Research, Inc. between August 31st and September 12th, 2006. Further information about the survey may be obtained by contacting Joanne Binette, the report’s author, at 202-434-6303. (21 pages)

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