Cox, AT&T: Okla. SBC Study Moot

In a joint filing, Cox Communications Inc. and AT&T Corp. told the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that if proposed rules are adopted at its Dec. 15 meeting, SBC Communications Inc. will effectively be freed from the state's regulation before the OCC’s study on deregulating SBC is completed, AP reported.

The OCC began a study Friday to determine whether the state's phone market has enough competition to allow deregulation, according to AP. The study was proposed by a task force lawmakers formed this past spring.

SBC controls more than 80% of Oklahoma’s land lines, and opponents warned that deregulation would squeeze out competitors and produce higher rates, according to AP. SBC said deregulation would even the playing field for all telecommunications providers, and the consumer would ultimately benefit.

As for Cox, the MSO objected to many portions of the proposed rules, including a provision that would allow SBC to bundle regulated services with unregulated services, AP reported. Cox said that would allow SBC to avoid regulation altogether.