Iowa Utilities Board Deregulates Landline Telephone Service

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Utilities Board has voted to deregulate landline telephone service in the state, concluding that there’s enough competition now from cellphones, internet providers and other services to no longer justify forcing wired telephone companies to provide service everywhere.

The deregulation frees traditional wired telephone providers from nearly all customer service requirements and service quality standards.

In ordering deregulation the board members, all three Republican appointees, sided with the telephone companies and disregarded concerns of the Iowa consumer advocate, which argued that telephone carriers already are turning their backs on some rural customers.

The board said rural areas unprofitable for wired carriers and with poor cellphone service “do not, by themselves, justify continuation of service quality regulation on a statewide basis.”

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