Tech Industry

Rural telecoms denied portability delays

The FCC refuses to grant requests from two phone companies that wanted more time to meet new switching rules.

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday denied a request from two rural telephone companies that wanted more time to meet portability regulations. The rules require the companies to let cell phone customers keep their old cell phone numbers when they switch carriers. But in a sign of how far apart state regulators and their federal counterparts are on the issue, the state of Tennessee has given one of the carriers, Yorkville Telephone Cooperative, permission to delay for another 60 days porting telephone numbers from its landline customers who want to go solo with a cell phone.

The FCC action affects Michigan-based Upper Peninsula Telephone Company and the Yorkville Telephone Cooperative. Both had sought waivers of the rules several months ago, claiming among other things that equipment problems made immediate compliance with the rules an issue. Wireless local number portability rules went into effect in November in about 70 percent of the country. On Monday, carriers serving the rest of the country had to comply.