DENVER (AP) – A bill to overhaul to a ratepayer subsidy for telephone providers is getting its first hearing in the Colorado Senate.

The proposal being heard Monday afternoon would gradually reduce the subsidy until it’s eliminated in 2025.

Supporters say the subsidy is outdated because it was originally used to help companies provide telephone service in rural, underserved areas. Critics say many of those areas now have several options.

The bill is opposed by CenturyLink Inc., which has received the bulk of the subsidy in the past. Other providers, including AT&T, support the legislation. It would eliminate subsidies in places where 90 percent of customers have at least five telecommunications providers. Providers working in less competitive areas would still be eligible for the fund.

The fund disbursed an estimated $54.3 million last year.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (2)
  1. asodeska says:

    Ahhh Centurylink, aka Qwest, one of the worst companies in the World.
    I have never experienced so much trouble from one company, and am so glad I no longer have to use them.
    By all means, axe their subsidies.

  2. Sickofsubsidies says:

    This bill was co-written by the Mom and pop rural phone companies and it is designed to fill their larders with these subsidies paid for by all Colorado phone users. I say cut ALL of the subsidies. If these small phone companies fail so be it. Plenty of wireless carrier options out there. Allow competition to rule!

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