14 Jul SBC is Here to Stay
SBC was flooded by complaints of poor service from Wisconsin customers two years ago and has since been trying to bail out.
Paul La Schiazza, president of SBC’s Wisconsin division said that SBC wanted its Wisconsin customers to be assured that SBC was not a small local company, but a large corporation capable of competing with the top-tier telecom companies. Last December SBC Communications Inc. announced that SBC Ameritech of Wisconsin would simply be called “SBC,” thus joining the other SBC phone companies in 13 states.
SBC announced another positive move on Wednesday – the State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved their application to provide long distance. Howard Reifs, spokesperson for SBC, said that they have been striving to get PSC approval for long-distance service in Wisconsin for the last year. Now SBC must submit an application for approval to the FCC before they can provide long distance throughout Wisconsin. “In being able to compete on a level playing field with all the other telecommunications providers in Wisconsin, it is essential to have long distance,” Reifs said. “That’s what we have been striving for quite some time and we look forward to being able to provide that.”
Jan Alf, president of the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, believes that Wisconsin will benefit economically if SBC provides long distance service. “Wisconsin’s economy will benefit from the savings that residents and businesses will see here when full competition for long distance arrives in Wisconsin,” she said. “The savings will help the economy by making more money available for consumer spending and business investment in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin employers want more choices of long distance service providers, according to Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. “With SBC Wisconsin’s ability to provide this service, businesses will have expanded choices for their one stop telecommunications services,” said Sheehy.
While awaiting FCC approval, SBC is not waiting on providing other long distance options. The company owns 60% of Cingular, America’s second largest cell phone company that provides nationwide long distance service. Reifs said that SBC customers are eligible for discounted Cingular plans. The SBC Connections package provides a land line, DSL and Cingular cell phone service all on one bill. SBC hopes to build on all-in-one packages for the future.
Not only has SBC expanded its technical capabilities; it has also expanded its minority workforce. SBC Communications Inc. was recognized for the fifth year in a row as the highest-ranking telecommunications company in Fortune magazine’s annual 50 Best Companies for Minorities list. This year SBC was ranked seventh overall on the list among companies such as McDonalds and PepsiCo.
Reifs said that SBC’s workforce comprises 48% women and 38% people of color, which is reflective of the communities SBC serves. “It illustrates that we are more closely connected to our diverse customers and partners,” said Reifs. “It allows us to truly know, understand and serve them in ways that really matter most.”
SBC Communications, Inc. provides wire line telecommunications services in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. The company headquarters are in San Antonio, Texas.
Alexis Johnson is a Madison, Wisconsin based writer and regular contributor to the Wisconsin Technology Network. Alexis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.