CenturyLink has filed suit in Denver District Court challenging the Colorado Public Utilities Commission's move to eliminate the state's $54 million rural phone service subsidy program.
The telco, which gets about $50 million every year from the Colorado High Cost Support Mechanism (CHCSM) as a provider of last resort (POLR) for voice service, wants the Denver District Court to review the PUC's plans.
"The commission's new 'effective competition' criterion is a legally improper basis for determining CHCSM funding meant to cover the increased provider costs of rural service," CenturyLink wrote in its lawsuit filed on April 11. "The commission's new CHCSM rules will harm CenturyLink by reducing its CHCSM funding and by requiring it to expend significant resources to participate in legally flawed adjudications to maintain funding to which it is legally entitled."
Last December, the Colorado PUC decided to stop paying subsidies for phone service in remote parts of the state. It argued that the growth of competition between service providers in Colorado "no longer justifies subsidies to those providers."
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