Telephone Rate Deregulation
An overview from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC)
Rates and charges for retail telecommunications services in Indiana were fully deregulated as of July 1, 2009.
Deregulation of telephone service in Indiana was phased in over a three-year period starting in 2006, when the Indiana General Assembly approved House Enrolled Act 1279 (Public Law 27-2006) declaring that “competition has become commonplace in the provision of telecommunications services in Indiana and the United States.” The law’s approval ended state authority to regulate landline telephone service rates for business and most residential customers.
- Between July 2006 and July 2009, the only telephone service rates and charges that remained under Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) jurisdiction were for stand-alone basic local services (BLS) for residential landline customers.
- Rates and charges for any landline telephone service including non-basic features (such as caller ID, voice mail, call forwarding, or any other additional service) as well as bundled service packages have been exempt from IURC jurisdiction since 2006.
The IURC has never exercised jurisdiction over rates and charges for:
- Wireless/cellular telephone services
- Internet telephone services (voice over Internet protocol)
- Internet service
- Cable and video services
The IURC, however, still has jurisdiction to enforce or administer state and federal laws concerning:
- Slamming and Cramming
- Universal Service support programs
- Service matters regarding hearing- and speech-impaired customers (dual-party relay)
- Dialing code administration (including 211 & 811 dialing codes, area codes and number conservation)
- Interconnection agreements and resolution of carrier-to-carrier disputes
With regard to cable and video services, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established specific customer service standards. The IURC enforces these standards and will continue to do so. For more information, please review the OUCC’s Cable Television fact sheet (http://www.in.gov/oucc/2404.htm).
If you have complaints or concerns regarding telephone or other telecommunications services, you should follow these steps:
- Promptly contact the service provider and attempt to resolve the matter.
- If you believe your concerns involve slamming, cramming or the FCC's cable/video customer service standards, contact the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) toll-free at 1-800-851-4268, directly at 317-232-2712, or online at www.in.gov/iurc to report your concerns.
- Be aware that the IURC cannot resolve disputes between consumers and telecom providers except for specific matters within its jurisdiction.
- Understand that the retail telecommunications industry is now considered competitive under Indiana law, allowing consumers to choose among competing service providers.
The following links may be helpful when comparing service providers:
- Shopping for Phone Service - OUCC fact sheet: http://www.in.gov/oucc/2413.htm
- Telecom provider links: http://www.in.gov/oucc/2492.htm
- Websites offering calling plan comparisons: http://www.in.gov/oucc/2355.htm#4
- Indiana law regarding telephone service competition (IC 8-1-2.6): http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2014/ic/titles/008/articles/001/chapters/2.6/