CenturyLink rates increase in Tacoma, Gig Harbor; approval dates from last year

Staff writerMay 28, 2014 

Telephonic anonymity now costs $60 a year, and it’s going to cost you nearly $3 to make a call to that number you forgot.

That CenturyLink has increased its rates should come as no surprise.

There was a notice last October about a hearing before the company’s regulator, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, concerning regulation and pricing.

There was a press release in January describing how the WUTC had reached a settlement “allowing CenturyLink pricing flexibility in setting residential and business landline telephone rates.”

There were notices sent to customers announcing the rate increases.

And now the bills have been mailed, to the chagrin of some customers who have contacted The News Tribune.

Among those increases:

• Monthly rates for non-listed, non-published and all other chargeable directory listings will increase to $5.

•  All Directory Assistance calls completed by your local telephone company will be charged at $2.99, with no call allowances.

CenturyLink (and affiliates of CenturyTel, including CenturyTel of Washington, which serves Gig Harbor) and the commission agreed that the deregulation offers the company a chance to do business “in a local telephone market (that is) vastly different than the historic monopoly environment that existed throughout most of the 20th century,” according to the January release.

The agreement, to release continues, allows the company and the regulator “the opportunity to acknowledge the realities of the 21st century marketplace by reducing unnecessary regulation … to the ultimate benefit of this state’s consumers.”

CenturyLink spokeswoman Jan Kampbell said the WUTC decision  “was based on the extraordinary level of competition that CenturyLink faces in today’s telecommunications market and the fact that the commission does not regulate most of CenturyLink’s competitors such as wireless and cable companies.”

She continued, “CenturyLink did recently increase some of its rates, including its exchange access rates and some of its feature rates, including non-published telephone numbers. Customers were provided notice of the rate changes at least 30 days in advance  For many of the affected services, the rate increases are the first in many years. As with other industries, CenturyLink must reflect rising costs in the rates it charges its consumers.”


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