ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is opposing a proposal at the State Capitol that would change how local phone companies are regulated.

Swanson contends the bill would lead to higher prices and reduced phone service in rural areas.

The bill's advocates say less regulation would allow them to stay competitive with newer technologies.

But Swanson says the proposal would "eviscerate" 100 years of state law protecting consumers, including a requirement that phone companies provide access in far-flung rural areas.

The bills also are opposed by former Minnesota Attorney Generals Skip Humphrey and Mike Hatch, who called it a "metro-centric" bill that would hurt the elderly and the poor.

Minnesota Telecom Alliance President Brent Christensen said he views the proposal more as re-regulation than deregulation.