The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission on Thursday approved an agreement with CenturyLink that allows the company pricing flexibility in setting residential and business landline telephone rates.The commission's approval of what is called the "alternative form of regulation," allows the company to change rates for most of its services without commission review. The commission will continue to regulate rates for public interest services, such as 911 and low-income assistance, and for CenturyLink's wholesale services to competitors. The agreement replaces and expands on an earlier agreement between the state and CenturyLink's predecessor, Qwest Communications.
CenturyLink's telephone services will remain subject to state regulations governing consumer protection, general terms and conditions of service and service quality. These include requirements for installation and maintenance performance, service availability, billing accuracy, and resolution of service outages.