To the Editors of The Crimson:
I am writing to explain my position regarding the recent vote to permit New England Telephone (NET) to charge residential customers 35 cents for dialing 411 (directory assistance) in excess of 10 per month.
I oppose such charges, because I believe it puts an unfair burden on residential telephone customers of low and moderate income. The fact is that New England Telephone is a successful and profitable corporation which has made large profits in recent years and has been unable to justify a general rate increase. The new law allowing NET to charge for 411 is an under-the-table rate increase which, I believe, should not be separate from all other proposed rate increases, thereby pending review by the Department of Public Utilities.
This selective rate increase was especially distasteful because of the way it was attached to the Enhanced 911 Public Safety Network and much-needed improvements in service to handicapped people with telecommunication services. From where I sat, enhanced 911 and services to the handicapped were being held hostage to the charge for residential directory assistance. I support the Enhanced 911 Public Safety Network and improved services to the handicapped, but I voted against the bill before the House because I felt NET should provide these services, period. If the phone company were to lose money on these services, officials could petition the DPU for a rate increase as is the case in other matters. Rep. Alvin E. Thompson 28th Middlesex District