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News Release
Rogue River Extended Area Service Petition Advances
July 10, 2002 (2002 - 018)
Contacts:  Roy Hemmingway, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Lee Beyer, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission has found a community of interest exists between the Rogue River telephone exchange and the Gold Hill, Central Point and Medford exchanges. The decision clears the way for Phase II, in which proposed cost and rates for the Extended Area Service (EAS) will be determined.
EAS is a replacement for long distance (toll) service. EAS allows telephone customers in one local calling area (known as an exchange) to call one or more nearby exchanges without incurring long distance charges.
May 16, 2002, customers of the Rogue River exchange petitioned the Commission for extended area service to Gold Hill, Central Point and Medford exchanges.
June 20, 2002 a Commission Administrative Law Judge held a hearing in Rogue River where approximately 500 people appeared in support of the petition.
At the hearing petitioners presented ample evidence that the current long distance charges between Rogue River and Gold Hill Central Point, and Medford create an artificial barrier that divides the community and restricts access to basic goods and services.
Next spring the proposed rates will go to customers as bill stuffers and the Commission will hold an additional hearing in Rogue River to determine whether the community still wants to go forward with its request. If the community does, the Commission would issue an order in May of 2003 with the new EAS rates effective no later than the first Saturday in August.
The Commission has long recognized the problem with out-dated telephone exchange boundaries that no longer relate to community boundaries.
To address this problem, the Commission allows customers to request EAS to other nearby exchanges to increase their toll-free calling area. With EAS, per-minute toll charges are replaced with a flat or measured rate.
The PUC, at the request of customers, has approved nearly 1,700 EAS routes in Oregon, including 69 in Southern Oregon.