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News Release
Competition Grows Slowly in Telecommunications
January 31, 2005 (2005 - 001)
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, Or. - Most Oregonians are buying their basic wireline telephone service from Qwest, Verizon, Sprint and Century Tel, but a growing number of Oregonians are receiving their telephone service from the big four’s competitors.
"Competition is most evident in the Portland metropolitan and Willamette Valley areas where 90 percent of the competitors’ customers live," Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. "Technology and Federal law are evolving rapidly. It remains to be seen how these forces will affect competition in the years ahead. However the Commission will continue to take measures within our power to protect customers while also fostering competition."
In 2003, the competitive carriers’ share of the market in Oregon went from 11.3 percent to 13.9 percent, according to the Sixth annual report by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The competitors’ share of the residential market remains tiny--2.8 percent--but they have made inroads in the business market where their share has grown to 30.5 percent, up from 26.3 percent, in 2002.
Qwest, Verizon, Century Tel, and Sprint serve about 80 percent of the wirelines in Oregon, a drop of about three percent from the year before. There are nearly the same number of wireless phones as wireline phones in Oregon, although most customers see their cell phone as a supplement. Many young people are moving to wireless service as their only phone.
In 2003, the number of competitive carriers increased from 101 to 118. Forty-nine of those companies offered dial-tone service. The others are reselling wholesale services offered by the incumbents.
To gather information for the report, the Commission surveyed all local exchange carriers. The Commission also surveyed Oregon cities, counties, school districts, community colleges, universities, and people's utility districts that own coaxial, digital subscriber lines, fiber optics cable, and other advanced telecommunication infrastructure.