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The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Chuck Taylor | ctaylor@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 1:48 p.m.

Public hearing Thursday on Frontier phone rates

Residential and business telephone customers of Frontier Communications can comment to state regulators on the utility's request for rate flexibility at a public hearing Thursday in Everett.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has scheduled the hearing for 6 p.m. at the Jackson Conference Center at Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St. in Everett. Frontier filed a request Dec. 24 seeking "competitive classification" of all its in-state telephone services, which would allow the company more pricing flexibility.

There's more information here. More from the UTC news release:

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.

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