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Victory Bells24:50
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photoThe regional and long-distance phone service providers have been battling for 20 years. Last March, a federal appeals court did away with regulations requiring regional phone service providers to allow the long-distance giants discounted access to their networks.

Last Wednesday, the Bush administration made the unusual decision not to defend federal policy. Later that same day, the FCC reversed course and dropped its own appeal. Now, higher rates for telephone users are a virtual certainty, and consumer advocates are crying foul, calling the Bush administration's decision a sop to big-dollar campaign contributors.

Click the "Listen" link to hear about the revenge of regional providers, higher rates, the organizing of competition, and where consumer interests lie now.

Guests:

Chris Stern, a staff writer for the Washington Post who has been covering the story

Mark Cooper, research director of the Consumer Federation of America

Ray Gifford, president, Progress & Freedom Foundation

This program aired on June 16, 2004.

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