Ruling To Eliminate Some Long-Distance Tolls Expected Today
US West Communications has asked Washington regulators to approve plans that would eliminate long-distance tolls between Elk and Green Bluff.
A separate filing by US West and PTI Communications also would allow Colville and Kettle Falls residents to place unlimited toll-free calls to each other.
To replace the long-distance charges, Elk and Green Bluff residents would pay a 65-cent monthly fee. Businesses would pay an additional 90 cents.
There are 11,000 calls placed between the two communities each month.
Colville residents who now place almost 300,000 calls a year to Kettle Falls will be able to do so for 55 cents per month under the US West plan. Businesses would pay 75 cents.
Rates for Kettle Falls residents would increase $1.50 per month. Business rates would go up $3.
Not only will approval eliminate long-distance charges, US West representative Sharon Matthews said, callers no longer will have to dial 1-509 to make their connection.
Revenues from the monthly fees will match those from the dropped long-distance charges, Matthews added.
A ruling on the filings is expected today. If approved, the changes would become effective Thursday.
PTI spokeswoman Darlene Holliday said the toll-free calling area will be broadened to include Chewelah in a filing expected in September.
Matthews said toll-free service to Northport also will be evaluated.