Incumbent Telephone Providers: Lumen (formerly CenturyLink) and Rural Independent Phone Carriers
Each geographic region of the state has one provider that is the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC). Each ILEC has certain rights and responsibilities for its region including serving as the provider of last resort, which means that the provider must provide service to any customer in its territory that requests it, and providing Lifeline discounted service to qualifying low income customers.
Lumen is the incumbent provider for most of the population centers of Utah. The legislature has granted large ILECs full pricing flexibility, so the Commission no longer sets Lumen's rates. The Commission still oversees service quality and requires certain filings such as the annual report.
There are 18 additional ILECs serving Utah. In most respects these ILECS operate and are regulated similar to monopoly telephone companies of the past. Competition is typically sparse due to the higher cost to serve and certain competitive protections allowed the ILEC. Generally these ILECs operate in smaller or rural areas where the costs of providing service may be higher than in more populated areas due to fewer customers among which costs can be allocated. To help mitigate this expense most of these ILECs are entitled to receive support from the federal USF and state USF. The purpose of the USF, or Universal Service Fund, is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable telephone service. USF is funded by fees collected on telephone bills. Before state USF funds are granted to a company, its costs and rates are thoroughly reviewed.
Competitive Phone Providers
Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (or CLECs) must obtain a CPCN from the Public Service Commission before they can operate. Competition within an incumbent phone company's (ILEC) territory in Utah is only allowed when the ILEC has more than 30,000 access lines in the state and also more than 5,000 access lines in that particular service territory. Primarily, competitors operate in Lumen's territory and just a few of the larger phone exchanges around Moab, Delta, Price and Vernal.
Cable and VOIP providers are not rate regulated by the state of Utah. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has some regulatory authority, including overseeing complaints.
Wireless providers are not rate regulated by the state of Utah. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has some regulatory authority, including overseeing complaints.
While the State of Utah does not regulate internet providers, the Utah Broadband Center hosts the Utah Internet Speed Test Campaign aimed at improving the availability of broadband infrastructure and service throughout the state. Through the collection of internet speed test and associated location data, the Utah Broadband Center will inform state leaders where there is a lack of broadband internet to homes or businesses. To participate in the Utah Internet Speed Test Campaign by taking the speed test and reviewing the results map, click here .