Telecommunications provider Embarq said today it is cutting between 500 and 700 jobs and eliminating around 300 contract positions as it...

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Telecommunications provider Embarq said today it is cutting between 500 and 700 jobs and eliminating around 300 contract positions as it deals with a continued loss of telephone customers.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based company said the job cuts will all come from its Network Services organization, which installs and maintains its network, and is part of the company’s attempts to bring down costs.

The proposed company job cuts would amount to about 3 to 4 percent of Embarq’s work force or more than 17,000.

Embarq, the nation’s fourth-largest traditional telephone company with service in 18 states, including south-central Washington, has experienced a double whammy as more customers are dropping wireline phones for wireless and Internet telephone services while the slowdown in new housing is reducing the number of new customers.

In the second quarter, the company said it lost a net 170,000 access lines to end at 6.02 million, or 7.8 percent fewer than a year ago. It still believes annual line losses will be similar to last year, when the company lost a little more than 6 percent of its lines.

“Our rationale is that to ensure the continued success of our enterprise we are constantly evaluating the size and placement of our work force, including the ways we staff and prioritize work,” said Embarq spokesman Charles Fleckenstein. “This action allows us to rationalize the size of our work force relative to the size of our customer base.”

In June, Embarq announced it was handing over four technical service centers to Nokia Siemens Networks, transferring 256 Embarq workers to the other company. It also said it planned to close three customer call centers, affecting 210 jobs.