The association that represents most local telephone companies has asked the Federal Communications Commission for an 8.8 percent increase in the access tariffs its members charge long-distance telephone companies_a request that could result in a small rise in long-distance telephone rates to consumers.
The National Exchange Carriers Asssocation, which represents about 1,500 local phone companies including the former Bell operating companies, told the commission in a filing this week that it needed the increase because it is not achieving its authorized 12.75 percent rate of return.
The association asked the the FCC to rule on its request within 45 days. But the commission could decide to reject all or part of the request or decide it needs additional time to study it.
The access tariffs at issue are the rates that local phone companies charge long-distance companies such as American Telephone & Telegraph Co. and MCI Communications Corp. for the costs of connecting their wires with the local phone networks. Last May, the FCC reduced those charges, thus allowing AT&T to cut its long-distance rates to consumers by 6.1 percent. Any increase in those charges now would tend to put upward pressure on long-distance rates. But an FCC official said yesterday that even if the request were granted in full, it would represent only a small portion of the earlier reduction in long distance rates.