Utah's Public Service Commission will hold hearings in June to seek problems and possible changes in the state's regulation of telephone and telecommunications services.
"We view this as an investigation, which means we seek specific information and analysis," the three-member commission said in an order issued last week. "We are not interested in gathering generalities in the form of unsupported opinion."The action comes after Mountain Bell failed to push a bill through the 1988 Legislature that would have completely deregulated several telephone services and radically changed local phone service regulation. Facing heavy opposition from government, business and consumer groups, Mountain Bell agreed to withdraw the bill and sent it to an interim committee for a year of study.
"By the close of this proceeding we intend to be able to make recommendations to the legislative interim committee concerning either modifications to existing regulation or alternatives to it," the PSC said. "In addition, we may use the information gathered as a basis for rule making to modify or clarify existing regulatory practice."
In a prehearing conference last month, the commission met with officials from Mountain Bell, AT&T, MCI, U.S. Sprint, TeleAmerica, the Utah Telecommunications Management Association, the Division of Public Utilities and Committee of Consumer Services.
Most of those groups have agreed to focus the investigation on six fundamental issues, including how current regulation may be inadequate and what improvements could be made.
The parties will also review specific benefits and disadvantages of alternative regulation, what legislative or regulatory actions could improve regulation and what areas and services would be affected.
Hearings will begin June 29 with a an opportunity for public input scheduled on June 30.