Apopka, FL, June 05, 1996 (DLD DIGEST) -- More than 225,000 Sprint local telephone service customers in 10 Florida communities are getting a big break on calling rates for some popular routes, thanks to new Extended Calling Service plans.

Effective June 1, all residential calls between the following communities, in either direction, are dialed as seven digits and are 25 cents for unlimited duration:

  • Ocala in Marion County and Wildwood in Sumter County.
  • Leesburg in Lake County and Wildwood.
  • Leesburg and Bushnell in Sumter County.
  • Bushnell and Howey-in-the-Hills in Lake County.
  • Belleview in Marion County and Wildwood.
  • Silver Springs Shores in Marion County and Wildwood.
  • DeFuniak Springs in Walton County and Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County.
  • DeFuniak Springs and Cresview in Okaloosa County.

More than 161,000 Sprint residential local service customers in the 10 cities now have the flat 25-cent rate available on the 8 new calling routes.

Business calls between the Extended Calling Service plan cities are also dialed as 7 digits and are 10 cents for the first minute and 6 cents for each additional minute. More than 63,000 businesses in the 10 cities now have the reduced-rate local long distance rates available on the new calling routes.

For a residential customer, the change from per-minute long distance charges to the new flat rate can mean significant savings, since each of the eight calling routes had been based on per-minute local long distance rates. For example, a typical daytime charge under the old rates was 24 cents for the first minute and 16 cents each additional minute, so the new flat 25-cent residential rate will save customers money after the first minute of calling on the first call they make. The more customers call, the more they save. The new business rate will also mean significant savings over the old local long distance rates.

"We're proud to be able to offer the new lower-cost calling plan to customers in these communities. The rate reductions are a direct result of industry deregulation and emerging competition," said Brian Craven, external communications manager for Sprint's Florida operations. Customers are being notified of the new calling plans through messages in their June bills.

Sprint's local operations in Florida, part of Sprint Corporation's Local Telecommunications Division, serve more than 1.7 million subscriber lines in 350 communities in 36 Florida counties with a population of 3.3 million, stretching from the Panhandle to the Everglades. The company's local service area includes nearly 40 percent of the state's geography. The company also has major offices outside the local service area in Jacksonville, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale/Miami.