State moves to deregulate home phones

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OLYMPIA (AP) — Washington officials are moving to deregulate pricing for home phone services, responding to the rise of new competition from wireless providers and the Internet.

IThe Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission agreed to eliminate price regulation of landline services provided by Frontier Communications Northwest Inc.

The company will still have to operate under consumer protection laws, and regulators have the option in the future of reversing the decision. Frontier is a phone service provider in Camas.

Brian Thomas, senior policy adviser for the UTC, said Frontier is already losing market share and officials don't believe the company will be able to raise prices. He said the policies were necessary in the 1980s when telephone companies were the only providers of phone service.

Frontier filed the petition late last year. The company services 320,000 landlines in Washington.