A plan that would eliminate long-distance charges on all calls within Oklahoma would cost telephone customers $2 a month, according to a financial analysis by state regulators.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission staff members are exploring a possible rule change to create a statewide toll-free calling plan.
Sean Voskuhl, associate state director of AARP Oklahoma, said the commission’s new cost estimate for the plan seems more reasonable than the $6 figure bandied around when it was first proposed.
Regulators estimate the plan will cost telephone carriers about $118 million a year in lost revenue. That equals about $1.38 a month when shared by customers who hold more than 7 million assessable telephone numbers in Oklahoma, according to the figures released Friday.
Officials proposed $2 per month as a placeholder rate because their estimates do not include administration or other associated costs.
Voskuhl said he still has several questions about the plan — including whether customers will be able to opt out of paying the newly proposed fee — but he likes the idea of residents being able to make toll-free calls to anywhere in the state.
‘Long time coming’
The former state legislator pushed for a similar plan in the 1990s when local calling areas were established around Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Enid and Lawton.
"Personally, I think this is a long time coming,” Voskuhl said.