General Telephone Information

The telecommunications industry is a system of switches and lines that interconnect to provide communication between multiple parties. Technology is constantly changing and expanding the basic concepts of telecommunications from Alexander Graham Bell's original invention. Today, the telecommunications industry includes local telephone service, long distance telephone service, cellular/digital telephone service, paging service, internet service and a wide array of competitive products and services. All of these different means and methods of communicating operate through networks forming a global telecommunications industry.


LOCAL SERVICE Most telecommunications service begins and ends with a local service provider. The local service provider maintains the local lines, handles service and safety concerns, and provides switches for interconnection with other telephone service providers. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has encouraged and provided a framework for competition in local telephone service.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) maintains jurisdiction over most of your local telephone service, including quality of service. The ACC has established rules and regulations that phone companies must follow. The Commission also has guidelines for companies to follow when competing with each other.



LONG DISTANCE telephone companies provide service beyond the local service area within the state of Arizona and throughout the globe. Long distance telephone providers maintain or provide access to switches and lines between the local exchange carriers and other long distance telephone providers. Long distance service has been competitive for many years. The federal government and state government jointly regulate long distance service. The Commission has jurisdiction for calls placed within the state of Arizona (intrastate) through regulations, rules, tariffs and certification. If your call begins or ends outside of Arizona (interstate), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has jurisdiction.


WIRELESS telephone service employs different technologies from the traditional local and long distance phone networks. Cellular and digital wireless services have exploded within the last decade as costs have declined. Technology has also expanded the quality and uses of wireless service. The FCC regulates wireless service but local authorities maintain some jurisdiction over the placement of wireless antennas and towers as well as other local aspects of service. If you have a specific service and/or billing concern, contact your service provider, the Arizona Attorney General's office, the FCC or the Better Business Bureau for assistance.


INTERNET service utilizes the cellular/digital system, traditional landline service, and other systems such as cable to connect digital communications between global users. The ACC has no jurisdiction over Internet service and Internet service providers. If you have a problem with your Internet service provider, please contact them to resolve your issue.


SUMMARY Other competitive services and products have expanded as technology has grown. Either the federal government or state governments have deregulated competitive services and products, such as voice mail and customer-owned equipment, as the marketplace has become fully competitive. If you are not sure if the ACC has jurisdiction over a telecommunications product or service, please call us Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.


Within Metro Phoenix: 602-542-4251
Within Metro Tucson: 520-628-6550


Outside the Metro Phoenix and Tucson areas, but within Arizona, call toll free

1-800-222-7000 connects you to the Phoenix Office and
1-800-535-0148 connects you to the Tucson Office