California PUC issues New Service Quality Rules for All Telecom Providers
On July 16, 2009, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) published Decision No. 09-07-019 ("D.09-07-019" or "decision"). This decision revises General Order (GO) 133-B and replaces it with GO 133-C which adopts major service interruption reporting and wireless map coverage requirements for wireless carriers. The decision also implements minimum service quality measures and standards for installation, maintenance and operator answer time applicable to local exchange carriers.
Service quality reporting requirements – Rules 2 & 3
Effective Jan. 1, 2010
Applicable to ILECs and CLECs in California
New service quality reporting requirements for general rate case (GRC) ILECS include the following five measures: 1) telephone service installation intervals (five business days); 2) installation commitments (95 percent); 3) customer trouble reports (six reports per 100 lines for reporting units with 3,000 or more working lines and lower standards for smaller units); 4) out of service (OOS) repair intervals (90 percent within 24 hours excluding Sundays and federal holidays, catastrophic events and widespread outages); and 5) answer time (80 percent within 60 seconds related to trouble reports and billing and non-billing issues with the option to speak to a live agent).
URF ILECs and CLECs
Uniform Regulatory Framework (URF) ILECs and CLECs (CLECs with 5,000 or more customers) include: 1) customer trouble reports (six reports per 100 lines for reporting units with 3,000 or more working lines and lower standards for smaller reporting units); 2) OOS repair intervals (90 percent within 24 hours excluding Sundays and federal holidays, catastrophic events and widespread outages); and 3) billing, non-billing and trouble-report answer time (80 percent within 60 seconds with the option to speak to a live agent).
Exempt from these requirements are CLECs with fewer than 5,000 customers (unless carrier of last resort), resellers, and wireless and Internet protocol-enabled providers (including VoIP and cable).
Major service interruption reporting – Rule 4
Effective upon issuance of D.09-07-019 – July 16, 2009
Applicable to certificated and registered wireless carriers in California
Decision No. 09-07-019 adopts the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) communication disruption and Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) reporting requirements. Carriers must now submit simultaneous written reports to the CPUC for communication disruptions and outages that affect California service. These requirements are applicable both to facilities-based certificated and wireless carriers that are registered with the CPUC.
- The FCC, and now the CPUC, require all voice providers, including wireless, to report outages that last at least 30 minutes and potentially affect at least 900,000 user minutes. Carriers must submit a more detailed report within 72 hours of the initial report and a final report within 30 days.
- Reports should be sent to the Communications Division and Division of Ratepayers Advocates regardless of whether the California outage independently would meet the FCC's significant disruption and outage reporting threshold.
Wireless coverage maps – Rule 5
Effective 90 days after issuance of D.09-07-019 – Oct. 14, 2009
Applicable to all registered wireless carriers in California
Decision No. D.09-07-019 adopts a new requirement that wireless carriers provide "wireless coverage maps" on their Web sites and at retail locations consistent with the voluntary compliance agreements already in place in many states.
- The wireless coverage maps must "show where wireless phone users generally may expect to received signal strength adequate to place and receive calls when outdoors under normal operating conditions" and should be provided in printable format on carriers' Web sites and, at their retail locations, in a printable or pre-printed format that customers can take with them.
- Maps should include conspicuous disclosures of material limitations in wireless service coverage depiction and wireless service availability.