Qwest to drop Montana phone rates May 1, add more DSL to state

Qwest customers in Montana will see the price of their landlines go down beginning May 1 as a part of a settlement of a complaint filed in October 2006 that the phone company was making more than its allowable rate of return on investment in the state.

Under the settlement most residential customers with basic phone service will see a decrease of $4.72 per month. Depending on the service type, reductions could range anywhere from $2 to as much as $10.47 per month. Business customers will see reductions anywhere from $3.94 to $12.41, with most getting a $6.66 decrease.

The settlement also calls for Qwest to bring DSL service to an additional 27 Montana communities over the next three years.

Back in December 2007, two rate analysts hired by the Montana Public Service Commission to look at Qwest's returns found that between 2002 and 2006 the company received at least $71 million in profits beyond what state regulators authorized. Qwest was authorized in 1992 to get a rate of return of up to 10.44 percent but analysts found that the return had hit 19 percent in 2002, 19.7 percent in 2003, and more than 21 percent in 2004 and 2005.

For more:
- AP via KXMC's website. Article
- AP back story on cbs4denver.com. Post

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