The Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) annual Report on the Status of Communications in the Telecommunications Industry shows many consumers cut spending in 2009 by curbing telecommunications services, although consumers in Florida continue to enjoy a wide range of choices for voice services.
The report found that in 2009 VoIP, broadband, and wireless services continued to gain customers, while traditional wireline service declined. Verizon, AT&T, and CenturyLink, the biggest wireline providers in Florida, lost approximately one million access lines in 2009. Smaller wireline providers also saw a decline in total subscribers.
Wireline companies that also offer wireless services were able to recoup some of the losses, but the growth rate of wireless is slowing. The Federal Communications Commission reported approximately 16.2 million wireless handsets in use in Florida as of December 2008. The PSC estimates there were 1.8 million Florida residential VoIP subscribers as of December 2009.
The pay telephone industry also noted a decline. The Florida Public Telecommunications Association reported the number of Florida pay telephones dropped from 20,000 to 16,500, about 18 percent, in 2009.
Other significant events in 2009 included CenturyTel’s acquisition (now known as CenturyLink) of Embarq and Qwest, and statutory changes by the Florida Legislature that restrict PSC regulation over wireline services to include only basic service, with no additional features such as call waiting.
Delivered to the Florida Legislature on July 30, the annual PSC telecommunications report compiled data from more than 300 Florida telecommunications companies for a 12-month period ending December 31, 2009. The report can be found here http://www.floridapsc.com/Publications/Reports
The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.