PSC Approves BellSouth Merger with AT&T
Merger will have no immediate effect on rates
On July 25, The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the merger of BellSouth Corp. with AT&T, Inc. The PSC imposed certain conditions on the transaction in an order issued on the day of the approval, including that the merger have no immediate effect on rates, terms and conditions of services provided or the presence of a state headquarters.
During the proceedings, the PSC, AT&T and BellSouth also agreed to a number of principles including: capping rates on basic local service for five years; maintaining local charitable and economic development activities; adhering to labor agreements in place at the time of the merger; and notifying the PSC prior to any facillity closings. Existing agreements with local phone service providers will remain in effect following the merger.
BellSouth and AT&T also said the merger will speed their deployment of broadband services in rural areas of Kentucky.
When the merger is completed, BellSouth will operate under the name AT&T. The merger also brings Cingular Wireless, jointly owned by BellSouth and AT&T, under a single owner.
BellSouth has about one million telephone customers in 77 Kentucky counties and employs 2,600 Kentuckians. AT&T was formerly SBC, a regional telephone company that grew out of the Southwestern Bell Co. SBC took on the AT&T name last year when it acquired AT&T Corp., which was primarily a long-distance telephone service provider. Cingular had previously acquired AT&T Wireless.
The PSC is an agency within the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has approximately 110 employees.