The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) has authorized three new telecommunications companies to provide local exchange service in competition with existing carriers U S WEST Communications, Inc. and GTE Northwest, Inc. The newly approved market entrants include Electric Lightwave, Inc.; MFS Intelnet of Oregon, Inc.; and MCI Metro Access Telecommunications Services, Inc.
The PUC acknowledged that rates for residential customers might rise initially as the dominant carriers lose a share of the market for business services, but said that its competitive entry policy should cause an overall downward pressure on rates in the long run. It noted, however, that revenue losses might be erased by an increase in efficiency or in consumption of lines and services. The PUC also found that regulations governing denial of service by new companies were unnecessary. First, it would be unreasonable to require new market entrants to serve all customers, both business and residential, within a given geographical area before their networks are in place. Once the networks are developed, the new carriers "should have no incentive to refuse service to any customer," the PUC concluded. Re Electric Lightwave, Inc., CP 1, CP 14, CP 15, Order No. 96-021, Jan 12, 1996 (Ore.P.U.C.).
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