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Consumer Corner – Telephone

Telephone service has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. You may have traditional “wired” or “landline” telephone service in your home or business.  You also may have “cell phone” or “wireless” telephone service, or receive telephone service by Internet using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).

Basic Telephone Service

The most basic level of service is “local exchange service” (sometimes referred to as “POTS” or “Plain Old Telephone Service”). This service allows you to make calls within your local calling area and to make emergency phone calls.  You also need this service to access long distance service. For detailed information on phone services. See Telephone Services.

Verizon provides local service to residential customers throughout Maryland, except in the northeastern part of the State, where Armstrong is the provider.  A few other companies provide service to residential customers, but service may be available only in limited geographic areas. 

You may also choose services in addition to basic telephone services:

Residential consumers also have other services in addition to or as alternatives to traditional telephone service:

Who Regulates Phone Service?

  • The Maryland Public Service Commission regulates basic telephone service, premium services, toll calls and the local phone service included in a bundle.
  • The FCC has authority over interstate long distance service, wireless service, VOIP and Lifeline/Link-up Services. However, there is little or no price regulation for these services.