The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) has ruled that market-share data filed by telecommunications interexchange carriers (IXCs) in a case governing pricing for intrastate intraLATA toll calls fits the legal definition of a trade secret. As such, the data deserved ongoing protection from disclosure to the public. The PSC added that whether releasing the information might serve a useful purpose (em such as invigorating competition in the marketplace (em was not a valid factor in deciding whether information should be protected. In a dissenting opinion, Commissioner Bob Rowe said that consumers should have the opportunity to review the data because the PSC's major
decision in the case, to remove the mandatory flow-through of carrier access charges to long-distance users, was premised on the belief that residential customers benefit from vigorous price and service competition. He noted that the current decision leaves the public no means of evaluating the PSC's decision to eliminate remaining rate protection in the long-distance market. Re Regulatory Status of Other Common Carriers and Contemplated Rulemaking et al., Docket Nos. 94.2.8; 92.11.66, Order No. 5664d, Aug. 15, 1995 (Mont.P.S.C.).
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