CenturyLink petitions Minnesota PUC for less regulation

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune

CenturyLink petitioned Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in late June to change its regulatory status, allowing it to be treated as a competitive market telecom provider. The Monroe, La.-based company isn’t under the strict state scrutiny of an electric utility, but it’s still heir to the classic regulated phone company of yore, the regional Bell operation. And it still faces more state regulations than wireless carriers.

CenturyLink’s petition is a “first-of-its kind request in Minnesota to deregulate basic local phone ­service following legislation enacted by the Minnesota Legislature in 2016,” according to a PUC filing by the state attorney general’s office.

The door to change was opened last Legislative season with the passing of the competitive market regulation…

Minnesota’s “competitive market regulation” law was passed in May, allowing local phone carriers to request a reduced level of regulation.

To achieve that goal, CenturyLink must show that it serves fewer than 50 percent of households in an exchange service area, and that at least 60 percent of those households can choose voice phone service from at least one competitor.

CenturyLink thinks they have done that…

CenturyLink argues it has met those thresholds, providing local voice service to “well less than 50%” of the households in its 154 Minnesota “wire centers,” according to an affidavit filed with the PUC by Robert Brigham, a CenturyLink executive. “In fact, in none of these wire centers does CenturyLink provide voice services to more than 38% of households.”

As for the requirement that 60 percent of customers have competitive access, “nearly all households in CenturyLink QC’s Minnesota serving area have wireless service options, and the vast majority of households have multiple wireless options,” the affidavit said.

It looks like there may be hurdles, but again the door it open…

Both the Commerce Department and the attorney general’s office also said CenturyLink’s petition for deregulation was missing required information.

“CenturyLink has not filed a complete petition, much less demonstrated that it has met the competitive criteria set forth” in Minnesota law, according to the attorney general’s office.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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