SBC is giving consumers another reason to hate land-line telephone companies.
They now charge a minimum fee per month on your phone bill for long distance service - even if you never make a single long distance call. This is probably a response to people using their cellphones and VOIP for long distance while keeping their land-line for local calls. Instead of offering better service or better pricing than either of their competitors, their response is to screw customers out of money, which will just drive more of them away.
This also goes into the face of flat-fee pricing for unlimited local and long distance calls that both VOIP and cellphones offer. As for me, both of these are still a little too unreliable to go "naked" without a local line, but once either of these become robust enough, I will be dropping the land line.