Telecom Customer Choice FAQs

What is local telecommunications customer choice?

The Federal and D.C. Telecommunications Acts of 1996 were the first major legislation to overhaul telecommunications industry in almost 62 years. The primary mandate of these laws was to enable consumers to choose their local telecommunications provider. The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia has implemented this mandate by certificating Competitive Local Exchange Carriers ("CLECs") to provide services in the District.

Who are the local telecommunications providers in the District, what services do they offer, and how can you contact them?

As of December 2015, Verizon and 58 CLECs provided local telecommunications services in the District. Of these, 8 companies, Verizon and 7 CLECs, offer local residential services. There are several categories of local residential services: basic local service only; basic local service combined ("bundled") with custom calling features such as Call Waiting and Caller ID; basic local service bundled with long distance service; and basic local service bundled with Internet and other services.

What are their prices?

Prices vary among providers, depending on the category of services. The Commission strives to provide pricing information for the District's residential telecommunications service providers. You can find prices as of January 29, 2016 on the Commission's website by clicking on the link below: Residential Quarterly Telecom Prices

What questions should you ask if you are considering switching providers?

When considering switching from one telecommunications provider to another, you should, at a minimum, ask the following questions:

  • Can I retain my old telephone number?
  • Will it cost me anything to switch and if yes, how much?
  • How much do you charge for local and long distance service?
  • What are the approximate taxes and other charges?
  • Is your telephone service "Voice over Internet Protocol" ("VoIP") or "regular switched telephone" service? (This is important because most VoIP need electricity to work and some landline phones do not. Moreover, the Commission does not regulate VoIP services.)
  • What are your customer service and repair service hours?
  • How frequently will I receive my bill?
  • Can I review and pay my bills online?


What is the status of local telecommunications competition?

The Commission tracks the status of local telecommunications competition based on several measures: (1) number of providers, (2) share of lines, and (3) share of revenues. Please click on the link for the detailed information, by year: Status of local telephone competition*