Vote on metro phones ends October 2

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will accept ballots through Oct. 2 on the issue of whether telephone calls between customers in the Maple Lake (320/963) telephone exchange and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Calling Area (MCA) will become local calls.

If approved in the polling process, Extended Area Service (EAS) would allow local, instead of long distance, calling between the Maple Lake exchange and the MCA.

A majority of customers voting in Maple Lake will decide whether EAS is approved. If a majority of telephone customers approve EAS, all customers in the Maple Lake exchange, including those who fail to vote on the issue and those who vote against EAS, will be required to pay higher monthly telephone rates. Telephone customers in the MCA will also pay higher rates if EAS is approved by the customers voting in the Maple Lake exchange.

On Aug. 21 the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission mailed information on cost increases, along with ballots, to all customers in the Maple Lake exchange.  The commission expects to know the results by the end of November 2002.

Telephone companies serving the affected exchanges have estimated that they could implement the service within a year to 18 months.

Telephone customers with questions may call the commission's consumer affairs office at 651-296-0406 or toll-free at 1-800-657-3782. Telephone customers may write to the commission by addressing letters to: Maple Lake EAS, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place East, Suite #350, St. Paul, MN 55101-2147.

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