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PSC extends deadline for elimination of COS

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Community Optional Service, or COS, will not be eliminated by Feb. 28, 1999, as the Missouri Public Service Commission had previously recommended. The PSC announced that it had extended the deadline to a date to be determined, pending resolution of a case regarding long-distance equal access within an area in Missouri.

The pending case is over the Primary Toll Carrier plan, a plan that deals with which carrier carries the call within a given local access transport area, or LATA. There is no schedule yet for rehearing that case, which will determine the time line for a termination of COS, Kelly said.

Individual phone companies can still choose to stop offering COS to their customers, Kelly said, and some companies have indicated they are considering doing so.

The PTC plan is also being phased out in order to open the intraLATA toll market to competition, and to let customers choose who carries their long distance calls.

COS is a program being used by one-half of 1 percent of all telecommunication customers in Missouri. The program, which allows toll-free calling between given exchanges if the caller subscribes to the program for a fee, is unique because of its two-way nature. Callers to or from a COS customer pay no toll.

The PSC determined that the program, which companies had to offer, should be phased out and no longer be a mandatory service. The commission could no longer mandate COS because of coming competition, Kelly said. There are about 17,590 Missourians who currently have COS.

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