The original can be found at http://ermisweb.cis.state.mi.us/mpsc/orders/press/11821.txt.htm.
John G. Strand, Chairman
David A. Svanda
Mary Jo Kunkle
LANSING, April 12. The Michigan Public Service Commission foundtoday that CenturyTel of Michigan, Inc. violated the MichiganTelecommunications Act by rating local calls as toll calls and discriminatingagainst competitive local exchange carriers and their customers. The Commissionfined CenturyTel $26,000 for these violations and, additionally, ordered thecompany to pay reasonable attorney fees and costs for the complainant and BRECommunications L.L.C., d/b/a Phone Michigan. Today's action concludes acomplaint filed by Glenda Bierman against CenturyTel, alleging that the companyhad billed her more than $2,500 in toll charges for local calls, most to MSEN, anInternet service provider. The telephone number Ms. Bierman used to accessMSEN is assigned to Phone Michigan in the Monroe telephone exchange. Ms.Bierman's calls originated from the Newport telephone exchange which is a localcall under CenturyTel's Extended Area Service tariff. CenturyTel has beendirected to rebill disputed calls by Ms. Bierman as local rather than toll calls. TheCommission also ordered the company to make refunds to each of its similarlysituated customers.
The Commission concluded that CenturyTel discriminated by failing tocomplete telephone calls to Phone Michigan's customers without toll charges whenit permits the same service to Ameritech Michigan's customers without tollcharges. The Commission also found that CenturyTel discriminated by requiringits customers to dial 11 digits to place a local telephone call to Phone Michigancustomers in the Monroe exchange rather than 7 digit dialing as it permits for callsfrom its customers to Ameritech Michigan customers in that exchange.
"The Michigan Telecommunications Act does not permit this type ofdiscriminatory and anticompetitive conduct," said Chairman JohnStrand. "The Commission sends a message today that it will takethe appropriate steps under the law to ensure that consumers andcompetitors are protected from this behavior." CenturyTel andPhone Michigan are headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana and Grandville,Michigan respectively.
The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Consumer and IndustryServices.
Case No. U-11821
April 12, 1999
(MPSC fines CenturyTel of Michigan, Inc. for MTA violations)
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