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News Release
U S WEST's Dialing Parity Plan Approved
January 19, 1999 (1999-004)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Commission Chair, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Roger Hamilton, Commissioners, 503 378-6611; Ron Karten, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Docket: UT 132
Advice No. 1739
Salem, Ore. – The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) today approved a plan that will allow customers of U S WEST Communications, Inc. beginning February 8, 1999, to dial "1" plus (or "0" plus) the number for all long distance calls, no matter which phone company provides the service.
Until now, customers of U S WEST’s local service have had to "dial around" the company to use competing services for calls known as local-long distance. These are calls beyond the "local" area but within a LATA, or Local Access Transport Area, which is a geographic telephone boundary generally smaller than a state (Oregon LATA map attached).
Customers have long been able to choose a carrier to provide their long distance calls, i.e. to numbers outside of Oregon and between LATAs, and with few exceptions, no "dial arounds" are needed. Under the plan, customers can now pick carriers other than U S WEST for their local-long distance, or intraLATA, calls, too.
Customers of U S WEST will receive a one-time notice informing them of this option to choose another intraLATA carrier, and competing carriers will have the opportunity to be listed on this notice.
A one-time, non-recurring, $5 switching charge will be waived for customers switching carriers during the first four months of this plan. During this time, customers may make an initial and one additional change in carriers at no cost.
Not eligible for this plan are services including local calls, directory assistance calls, calls to N11 codes (e.g., 411, 911) and 555 prefixed numbers, calls to Information Delivery Services (e.g., 960/976), calls completed by a U S WEST operator (0-), and wireless and paging calls.
This development continues a process initiated by the federal government in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 aimed at increasing competition for intraLATA phone service. Oregon’s first intraLATA dialing parity plans, for United Telephone Company of the Northwest dba Sprint and GTE Northwest, were approved in 1997.
Today’s action will not change long distance (toll) carriers for any customer.
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