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INCENTIVE-RATE PLAN FOR US WEST IS OK'D

Following US WEST Communication's filing for an incentive-rate plan in March 1990, the Utah Public Service Commission was inundated with more than 140 letters from rural businesses, as well as city, county and school officials urging passage of the plan.

The commission approved a plan on Wednesday, but it is not the same proposal US WEST filed and presented to rural leaders in an attempt to generate public support. Company officials said the incentive plan was needed to generate sufficient new investment to finance a $91 million modernization plan.A company spokesman said the order is currently under review and that the company will likely not have any comment for the next several days.

Commissioners are confident the new order is better because the desired improvements are not dependent on the incentive plan's acceptance by US WEST. They believe the result will be modernization that will put rural service on par with that offered to urban areas along the Wasatch Front. The order directs the company to spend $91 million over the next 54 months to complete the improvements. It includes giving every college, university and high school in US WEST territory an opportunity to receive fiber optic cable if the school is willing to pay the service fee.