Customers Have Choices in Telecommunications Services
Customers have had choice in long distance service since the break up of AT&T in the mid-1980's. With the passage of the Federal Telecommunications Act in 1996, and subsequent implementation by the Federal Communications Commission, most of the rules established in 1984 no longer applied. Congress stressed the promotion of competition in telecommunications service and many new long distance providers entered the market.
The Michigan Telecommunications Act of 1996 encouraged competition in the provision of local telecommunications services, the introduction of new and enhanced services, and among other things, emphasized streamlining the process for new entrants into the telecommunications marketplace. The Michigan Public Service Commission has issued over 200 licenses to companies to provide local service in Michigan. Today, competition in the provision of local telecommunications service continues to evolve with new providers and even new ways of making telephone calls, such as voice over Internet (VOIP).
Consumers should educate themselves regarding the choices available in both local and long distance services, and make decisions based on the type of service that best suits their needs and calling patterns. Telephone pricing and comparison-shopping sites are available for this purpose. Sometimes the best way to find out what services are available, and what companies are doing business in your area, is to look in the yellow pages for telecommunications carriers or watch to see what companies are marketing in radio, television, or billboard advertisements.
Changing telephone service (both local and long distance) from one company to another, requires action on a consumers part to assure that the services needed remain the same, and that service is terminated appropriately.