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Who should regulate phone service?

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – The president of the North Dakota Public Service Commission says there's intense discussion over who should regulate phone service.

Right now, state commissions have the authority. But the FCC is looking at national standards for phone service -- and is also considering national enforcement.

North Dakota PSC President Tony Clark says having the FCC enforce the rules doesn't make sense.

"Look, even today over 60-percent of the calls we get are on telephone issues," Clark said. "There is no way the FCC can handle the number of calls that would come in nationwide if the FCC simply preempted all Commission activity on telecom matters, and consumers were just told to call the FCC."

Clark says having state commissions enforce national standards works. He says the model for that is the FCC's "slamming" regulations -- that affect when long distance companies change someone's phone service without that person's permission.