Columbus, Ohio -- Chicago-based Baby Bell Ameritech Corp.
cleared another hurdle in its pending merger with SBC Communications Inc., with a proposed
settlement agreement approving the deal in Ohio.
Ohio regulators agreed to give their blessing to the $40
billion merger on two conditions: that Ameritech not raise its rates for three years and
guarantee certain service levels, and that it not reduce its current job levels in Ohio
for two years.
The company also agreed to provide funding for
consumer-education and technology programs. In addition, Ameritech will compete in four
Ohio markets that it does not currently serve.
The deal still faces scrutiny from Illinois and the Federal
Communications Commission. Last week, the staff of the Illinois Commerce Commission
released a statement that put its approval of the deal in doubt. A report by ICC staff
attorneys stated that the merger could stifle competition and have a detrimental effect on
residential phone service.