Friday, August 03, 2001

Lebanon debates phone costs




By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Extended local calling will cost about the same whether residents get it from a proposed new city service or current provider Sprint, Lebanon Telecommunications Director Jim Baldwin said Thursday.

        Sprint's estimate Wednesday that it would charge $16.50 monthly did not take into account taxes and surcharges, company spokeswoman Stephanie Meisse conceded Thursday. Those costs would bring the total basic bill to about $27.46, she said.

        City service, which officials are in negotiations to start by the end of the year, is expected to cost $28 monthly with all taxes and fees, Mr. Baldwin said.

        It will include unlimited local calls to Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana, city officials say.

        The fact that Lebanon callers must pay long-distance charges to call Cincinnati and Dayton was a major reason the city built its own telecommunications system about three years ago. Higher-than-expected startup expenses, however, delayed the addition of phone service to the city's current cable television and Internet offerings.

        Sprint also is proposing extending the local service area for Lebanon and many other Ohio communities to meet a state requirement to lower customer charges.

        Cincinnati and Dayton would be local calls if Lebanon customers vote to approve the new calling area, which will add $1 a month to their bills, Sprint says. However, Northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana still would not be local.

       



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