So it's dumping Ameritech, stringing its own lines and signing up for phone service with Iowa upstart McLeod USA.
Ameritech has run afoul of regulators in Michigan, Illinois and other Midwestern states because of lapses in service and other problems. Since complaints in Michigan peaked at 2,000 last August, the company has reduced waits for new installations from weeks to 36 hours.
Thursday's Detroit News said Oakland County estimated it could save $600,000 annually on phone bills and $150,000 by extending the service to jail inmates. The $2.5 million telephone system is expected to pay for itself in four years or less.
"Everything after that is just gravy," said Robert Daddow, assistant deputy county executive.
The decision involves 4,000 phone lines and 380 miles of fiber optic cable. A few Ameritech lines will be kept for emergency backup.
The county began laying its fiber optic network in 1999 and will begin switching its phone service April 20. The full switch is expected to be completed May 28.
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