Editor’s note: This news release reflects the position of the telecommunications staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and NOT the views of the three-member commission. It discusses a staff recommendation that the commissioners have not yet reviewed. Any positions taken or comments offered by the commission staff regarding this proceeding should be attributed clearly to staff members and NOT to the UTC.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Residential and business telephone customers of Frontier will be able to comment to state regulators on the utility’s request for competitive classification at a public hearing on May 23 in Everett.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has scheduled the public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 23, in the Senate Training Room at the Jackson Conference Center, Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St., Everett.
Frontier filed a request Dec. 24, 2012, with the commission for competitive classification of all its in-state telephone services. The company is asking for more pricing flexibility in setting phone rates and services. Frontier maintains there is effective competition statewide and customers have reasonable available alternative providers. Effective competition means the company’s customers have reasonably available alternatives and the company does not have a significant captive customer base. Commission staff does not support competitive classification of single-line residential and business service.
State regulatory staff members are proposing Frontier Communications Corp. be allowed to loosen pricing controls on landline telephone services and rates provided to medium and large business customers in the state. Commission staff found that effective local phone competition for these business services exists, which means the marketplace offers a competitive choice for customers.
The three-member commission, which is not bound by the staff recommendation, will make a final decision on the competitive classification request this summer.
The commission has received 12 public comments on Frontier’s proposed competitive classification petition, one in favor, 10 opposed and one undecided.
Three years ago, Frontier purchased Verizon Northwest Inc., creating the second-largest local landline telephone provider in Washington, serving 321,300 phone lines in cities such as Redmond, Kirkland, Everett, Bothell, Woodinville, Wenatchee, Kennewick, Pullman, Chelan, Richland, Naches, Westport, Lynden, Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Newport, Oakesdale, Republic and Camas-Washougal.
Headquartered in Stamford, Conn., Frontier Communications serves almost 3.2 million customers in rural communities, suburban markets and smaller cities across 27 states. It is the fifth largest phone company in the U.S. Currently, Frontier has approximately 1,100 employees in Washington.
The commission is the state agency in charge of regulating the rates and services of telephone companies operating in Washington.
The UTC is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to meeting participants with disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodation, please contact the commission at (360) 664-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org