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Public Service Commission


NEWS RELEASE


03/13/2007 Contact: 850-413-6482

FLORIDA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION PROTECTS CONSUMER ACCESS TO TRADITIONAL TELEPHONE SERVICE


TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today guaranteed  that consumers in two new residential developments will have access to basic telephone service.  The PSC denied separate petitions filed by AT&T Florida (formerly BellSouth) and Embarq requesting relief from their service obligations in areas of Duval, St. Johns, and Collier County. Commissioners ordered AT&T Florida to provide service to consumers in the Nocatee development south of Jacksonville and ordered Embarq to serve homes in the Treviso Bay development in Naples.

“The PSC is committed to ensuring consumers receive access to essential services as required by law, while maintaining market competition,” said PSC Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar. “Today’s action by the Commission guarantees consumers in the two Florida developments will receive basic local telephone service.”

Phone companies such as AT&T Florida and Embarq serve as the so-called “carriers of last resort” (COLR) in their service areas.  As required by law, carriers of last resort must provide voice telephone service in response to any reasonable request.  This obligation is a key safeguard against any community or consumer losing the ability to connect into the public network at just and reasonable rates.

By statute, a company may be relieved of its COLR obligations if certain conditions are met, for example, if a company is not granted access to an area to install telephone lines. However, Commissioners today agreed that neither petition demonstrated sufficient cause to warrant a waiver.

The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.

For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.



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