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FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2007
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Calling changes good for business

By M.J. Ellington
mjellington@decaturdaily.com (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Local telephone calling between Decatur and Huntsville is a positive step for business and private citizens, said Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce President John Seymour.

He said it reflects the reality that many Decatur and Huntsville area businesses compete regionally.

Telephone calls between Decatur and Huntsville are about to become local under an AT&T/BellSouth plan filed with the Public Service Commission this week.

The change from long- distance to local service takes effect May 7 and means other cities in the region will be affected as well.

"It is a money saver and a convenience," said Seymour. "We have chamber members who do half of their business in Madison County and vice versa."

But the change also affects the average residential telephone customer.

In addition to local calling to Huntsville, Decatur AT&T telephone local calling territory includes Courtland, Hartselle, Madison, Moulton and Town Creek.

The local calling territory for Huntsville customers will include Decatur, Gurley, Hazel Green, Madison, New Market and customers in Ardmore who are not in Limestone County. Local calling territory for Madison telephone customers will include Decatur, Gurley, Hazel Green and Huntsville.

Public Service Commissioner Susan Parker, who has a home in Rogersville, said the change reflects the economic development change from a town-by-town system to a regional form of economic development in Alabama today.

"This change will help families, but will also help businesses by lowering costs and making entire regions of the state competitive as locations for new business and industry," Parker said.

Members of the chamber visiting the capital Thursday praised the idea as well.

AT&T also will expand local calling in South Alabama.

Expanded local calling for Mobile, Baldwin and Washington counties will begin April 16.

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