The Senate decisively approved the telecommunications reform bill, paving the way for local telephone,long-distance and cable companies to enter one another's businesses. The bill would also free the largest electric utilities to provide an array of telecommunications services, lift longtime limits on how many TV and radio stations one company may own, and remove an 83-year-old restriction on foreign ownership of telcom companies. If a similar House proposal passes, the result could be a free market bazaar that would -- asbill author Sen. Larry Pressler(R-S.D.) predicted today -- "result inlower telephone rates, lower cable rates and more servicesto the American public." But a leading opponent, Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), warned that such swift and massive deregulation would only strengthen telecommunications giants.TIME's Suneel Ratansays the bill constitutes a grand, laissez-faire experiment with a $700 billion industry. The result may be more choice and cheaper service, but of a different sort, says Ratan -- "like when shopping malls replace downtown stores: you have more choice, but it's the same choice in Dubuque or Peoria or Los Angeles."