In 2002, the Commission issued an Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) to review, revise, supplement and expand, as necessary, elements of GO 133-B and to add new measures, procedures, standards and reports to the Commission's service quality rules.13 The OIR recognized that technological and regulatory changes compelled the Commission to focus attention on the questions of what constitutes good service quality and how that should be measured, monitored and enforced.14 One of the goals of increased competition was to ensure high quality service. A concern was expressed that competition might not be sufficient in all markets to foster high service quality for all consumers.15 Another issue raised in the OIR was whether minimal service quality rules continued to be necessary with competition and an intention to apply such rules across the board to all telecommunications providers was expressed.16 The general issues to be considered were listed in Attachment 1 to the OIR and were very broad. The exact scope of the proceeding was to be determined in one or more scoping rulings issued by the assigned Commissioner.
In March 2003, the assigned Commissioner and Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) narrowed the issues for comment to: (1) adoption of measures for specific services proposed in Exhibit A to Attachment 1 of the OIR; (2) parties' cost/benefit analyses for adoption of those measures; (3) whether publishing carriers' reported data for service quality measures is a reasonable alternative or interim step to establishing standards and measure-specific quality assurance mechanisms for some measures; and (4) whether workshops centered on implementation issues would be productive after draft rules issue.17 The Commission received extensive comments on the four issues identified in the ruling in April and May of 2003.18
In August 2006, a major decision in the URF proceeding, Rulemaking (R.) 05-04-005, undertook a long overdue review of the regulatory framework that the Commission applied to the four largest ILECs in the state, AT&T, Verizon California Inc. (Verizon), SureWest Telephone (SureWest), and Citizens Telecommunications Company of California Inc., d/b/a Frontier Communications of California (Frontier). The primary goal of the URF proceeding was to develop a uniform regulatory framework that was technologically and competitively neutral, allowing the URF companies to better respond to competitive pressures they are facing from new competitors, such as cable voice providers, wireless carriers, and VoIP providers. The URF Phase I Decision, [D.06-08-030], supra, provided the large companies with regulatory treatment that was more symmetrical with that of the firms they compete with. URF granted substantial freedoms in the way that telephone companies price their non-basic residential services, offer services (e.g., in bundles of services), and enter into contracts so they can compete on a level playing field. The Commission declined to allow pricing flexibility for residential basic local exchange services at that time, and put off pricing flexibility for basic service until January 1, 2009.19 The URF Phase I Decision, as modified by D.06-12-044, deferred consideration of service quality issues, including service quality monitoring reports, to this proceeding.20
In March 2007, an Assigned Commissioner's Ruling and Scoping Memo updated the scope of the proceeding in light of the fact that the proceeding record was almost four years old, and the new assigned Commissioner sought a refreshed record which reflected the competitive and regulatory changes related to the URF Phase I Decision as well as the fact that competition among wireline, wireless and VoIP had been advancing in the California telecommunications market at a rapid pace during that era. 21 Additional comments were requested on: (1) whether the Commission should require and publish annual customer satisfaction surveys for telecommunications services; (2) whether the Commission should continue to monitor service quality under URF; (3) whether the Commission should monitor major service quality interruptions or California-specific downtime under ARMIS; and (4) whether the Commission should continue existing company-specific or California-specific measures and/or reports.22
In particular, the assigned Commissioner noted that the 2003 comments had lent support to adopting fewer service quality measures than proposed in the March 2003 ruling, to limiting service quality measures to basic local exchange access line service, and to publishing carriers' service quality data. However, because the comments were filed prior to the release of the URF Phase I Decision, new comments would be useful to consider a new approach and particularly, symmetric regulation among the classes of communications service providers regulated under URF and their competitors, which include CLECs, wireless service providers, and VoIP providers.23
Parties submitted opening and reply comments on May 14 and June 15, 2007, respectively.24
13 Order Instituting Rulemaking on the Commission's Own Motion into the Service Quality Standards for All Telecommunications Carriers and Revisions to General Order 133-B, [R.02-12-004], mailed December 16, 2002.
14 Id., at p. 2.
16 Id. at pp. 9, 50-51.
17 Assigned Commissioner and Administrative Law Judge's Ruling Denying In Part and Granting In Part Motion To Suspend, dated March 7, 2003.
18 Parties commenting on these issues are listed in Attachment 2.
19 URF Phase 1 Decision, supra, [D.06-08-030], at p. 154 (slip op.).
20 Order Modifying and Granting Limited Rehearing of D.06-08-030 and Denying Rehearing in all Other Respects [D.06-12-044] (2006)__ Cal.P.U.C.3d __, at p. 41 (slip op.) modifying D.06-08-030, at p. 78 [Conclusion of Law Number 52] (slip op.). Similarly, in connection with investigations regarding Cingular, Pacific Bell, and Verizon, the Commission concluded this proceeding was the proper forum to consider revisions to any service quality requirements. (See In re Cingular [D.04-09-062] (2004)__ Cal.P.U.C.3d __, at p. 5 (slip op.); and In re Pacific Bell and Verizon California [D.03-10-088] (2003) __ Cal.P.U.C.3d __, at p. 14 (slip op.). Finally, in connection with a complaint regarding AT&T's OOS repair interval penalty mechanism, the Commission again noted any revisions to company specific service quality measures were the subject of this proceeding. (See The Office of Ratepayer Advocates v. Pacific Bell Telephone Company [D.07-04-019] (2007)__ Cal.P.U.C.3d __.)
21 Assigned Commissioner's Ruling and Scoping Memo, dated March 30, 2007 (2007 ACR), including a revised Exhibit A with Sources. The proposed service quality measures contained in the OIR and revised Exhibit A are included in this decision as Attachment 3.
22 2007 ACR, at pp. 6-7.
23 Id. at pp. 3-4, noting D.06-08-030, supra, as modified by D.06-12-044, supra, at n. 3 (slip op.).
24 Comments were filed by AT&T; Calaveras Telephone Company; Cal-Ore Telephone Co., Ducor Telephone Company, Global Valley Networks, Inc. (Global Valley Networks, Inc., has been merged into Citizens Telecommunications Company of California Inc. (D.08-02-014 and D.08-10-010) and is now an URF carrier), Foresthill Telephone Co., Happy Valley Telephone Company, Hornitos Telephone Company, Kerman Telephone Company; Pinnacles Telephone Co., The Ponderosa Telephone Co., Sierra Telephone Company, Inc., The Siskiyou Telephone Company, The Volcano Telephone Company, and Winterhaven Telephone Company (Small LECs); the California Association of Competitive Telecommunications Companies (CALTEL); Cbeyond Communications, LLC (Cbeyond); Frontier; CTIA-The Wireless Association (CTIA); Disability Rights Advocates (DisabRA); the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA); Sprint Communications Company, L.P., Sprint Telephone PCS, L.P., Sprint Spectrum L.P. as agent for Wireless Co., L.P. d/b/a Sprint PCS, Nextel of California, Inc., Omnipoint Communications, Inc., d/b/a T-Mobile (T-Mobile), XO Communications Services, Inc., Astound Broadband, LLC, Time Warner Cable Information Services (California), LLC, and Time Warner Telecom of California, L.P. (Joint Parties); SureWest; The United States Department of Defense and All Other Federal Executive Agencies (DOD/FEA); The Utility Reform Network (TURN); Verizon California Inc. and its certificated California affiliates (Verizon); Verizon Wireless; and the VON Coalition (VON). DisabRA filed a motion to intervene on May 14, 2007 to permit it to file comments. No party objected to DisabRA's motion and it is granted.