The Order Instituting Rulemaking (R.) 07-01-021 was initiated to consider ways to improve services to California telecommunications consumers who do not read or speak English fluently, and to focus on ways of promoting consumer protection for telecommunications customers who are LEP. D.07-07-043 (Phase I Decision) adopted rules applicable to carriers that market non-exempt telecommunications services in a language other than English (In-Language Marketing Rules).1
The In-Language Marketing Rules require carriers that market non-exempt telecommunications services in a non-English language (i.e., "in-language") to provide live person-to-person customer service over the telephone. However, carriers have a choice of ways to satisfy other in-language information obligations that accommodate their various marketing strategies and their different modes of operation while ensuring consumers receive adequate information to make informed decisions about purchases of non-exempt telecommunications services.
Among other things, the Phase I Decision decided that carriers which market non-exempt services in-language should report to the Commission annually on problems with fraud and actions taken to combat it (Fraud Reporting), and that these carriers should inform their LEP customers upon initiation of service and annually thereafter about ways to protect against fraud (Fraud Notification).2 The Phase I Decision determined, however, that before implementing these requirements, the Commission would seek comment on the content, format and timing of Fraud Notification to LEP consumers and Fraud Reporting to the Commission.
The Phase I Decision also deferred to Phase II of this proceeding consideration of issues concerning carrier tracking of LEP consumer complaints and tracking of customer language preference.3 The Phase I Decision determined that, before ordering carriers to track and report LEP consumer complaints and customer language preference, the Commission should seek additional comment on the kinds of LEP consumer complaint and language preference information that should be tracked by carriers, and how that tracking should be done.
Finally, the Phase I Decision directed the assigned Commissioner to issue a ruling seeking comments on whether in-language market trials should be permitted and, if so, what rules, if any, should apply to in-language market trials.
On August 30, 2007, pursuant to the Phase I Decision,4 the assigned Commissioner issued a supplemental scoping memo and ruling (Phase II Scoping Memo/Assigned Commissioner's Ruling (ACR)) identifying the scope of issues for Phase II of this proceeding to include: (1) establishing Fraud Notification to LEP consumers and Fraud Reporting by carriers to the Commission; (2) determining the kinds of LEP consumer complaint and language preference information that should be tracked by carriers, including defining "reportable telecommunications complaint," identifying the specific information to be tracked, how that information will be used, and what kinds of exceptions to any tracking requirements are appropriate; and (3) determining whether in-language market trials are appropriate, and if so, what requirements, if any, should apply to in-language market trials.
On September 14, 2007, CTIA - The Wireless Association (CTIA) requested that Phase II be divided into three consecutive parts: (1) in-language market trials; (2) fraud notification requirements and; (3) complaint and language preference tracking (Segmentation Motion). The Segmentation Motion also requested an extension of time until 60 days after the issuance of a revised scoping memo to file comments on the proposed Segment 1 issues concerning in-language market trials.
On September 27, 2007, the assigned Commissioner issued a ruling granting, in part, CTIA's Segmentation Motion by dividing the issues identified in the August 30, 2007 Phase II Scoping Memo/ACR into two parts (September 27 ACR). The September 27 ACR established Phase II-A to address issues related to in-language market trials and Phase II-B to address issues related to LEP consumer complaint and language preference tracking, fraud notification to LEP consumers, and fraud reporting by carriers to the Commission.
The September 27 ACR denied CTIA's request for an extension of time until 60 days after the issuance of a revised scoping memo to file comments on Phase II-A issues, but provided two additional weeks for parties to file and serve comments on Phase II-A issues. Comments on Phase II-A issues were filed on October 15, 2007 and reply comments were filed on November 1, 2007.5
The September 27 ACR also ordered a workshop in Phase II-B prior to the filing of comments to provide parties an opportunity to discuss issues related to LEP consumer complaint and language preference tracking (Tracking Workshop). On October 18, 2007, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a ruling scheduling the Tracking Workshop as directed by the September 27 ACR, and on November 8 and 9, 2007, the Communications Division (CD) held the Tracking Workshop.6
Some parties submitted position papers prior to the Tracking Workshop,7 and after the workshop some parties submitted post-workshop statements identifying areas of consensus and disagreement.8 The CD issued a workshop report on December 17, 2007. Comments on Phase II-B issues were filed on January 7, 2008 and reply comments were filed on January 22, 2008.9
On March 19, 2008, the ALJ issued a ruling authorizing parties to submit proposals for addressing LEP complaint and language preference tracking developed as a result of discussions occurring after the conclusion of the Tracking Workshop (March 19 Ruling). On April 2, 2008, proposals were filed and served by Joint Telecommunications Carriers,10 CDT-Joint Consumer Groups,11 and LIF. Comments on parties' LEP complaint and language preference tracking proposals were submitted by Joint Telecommunications Carriers (excluding Small LECs, which separately filed comments), CDT-Joint Consumer Groups, LIF and Verizon Wireless.12
1 The In-Language Marketing Rules do not apply to carriers' services to wholesale or business customers, or to wireless services offered through prepaid or month-to-month contracts (exempt services).
2 D.07-07-043, Conclusions of Law (COLs) 56, 57.
3 D.07-07-043, p. 97.
4 D.07-07-043, Ordering Paragraphs (OPs) 10, 11, and 12.
5 Parties filing comments and/or reply comments on Phase II-A issues were Pacific Bell Telephone Company dba AT&T California, AT&T Communications of California, Inc., New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC (collectively, referred to as "AT&T"); Consumer Federation of California (Consumer Federation); CTIA; Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA); Greenlining Institute (Greenlining), Latino Issues Forum (LIF); Cal-Ore Telephone Co., Calaveras Telephone Co., Ducor Telephone Co., Foresthill Telephone Co., Global Valley Networks, Inc., Happy Valley Telephone Co., Hornitos Telephone Co., Kerman Telephone Co., Pinnacles Telephone Co., Ponderosa Telephone Co., Sierra Telephone Co., Inc., Siskiyou Telephone Co., Volcano Telephone Co., Winterhaven Telephone Co., (collectively, referred to as "Small Local Exchange Carriers" (LECs)); SureWest Telephone Company (SureWest); The Utility Reform Network (TURN); MCI Communications Services, Inc. (MCI), MCImetro Access Transmission Services LLC (MCImetro), Verizon California Inc., Verizon Long Distance (VLD), Verizon West Coast, Inc. (VWC) (collectively, referred to as "Verizon California"); and Cellco Partnership, Los Angeles SMSA Limited Partnership, Verizon Wireless (VAW) LLC, Fresno MSA Limited Partnership, Sacramento Valley Limited Partnership, GTE Mobilnet of California Limited Partnership, GTE Mobilnet of Santa Barbara Limited Partnership, Modoc RSA Limited Partnership, California RSA No. 4 Limited Partnership and Cal-One Cellular Limited Partnership (collectively, referred to as "Verizon Wireless").
6 Parties participating in the Tracking Workshop were AT&T, CalTel, Communities for Telecom Rights (CTR), Consumer Federation, Cox, CTIA, Cricket Communications, Inc. (Cricket), DRA, Greenlining, LIF, Small LECs, SureWest, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Telscape Communications, Time Warner Cable, TURN, Verizon California and Verizon Wireless. Also attending were advisors to President Peevey and Commissioner Chong.
7 Parties submitting workshop position papers on November 2, 2007 were AT&T; Consumer Federation; CTR; CTIA; DRA, Greenlining, LIF and TURN (collectively, filing as "Joint Consumer Groups" and referred to as "DGLT-Joint Consumer Groups") and Verizon California.
8 Parties submitting post-workshop statements on November 14, 2007 were AT&T; Cricket; CTIA; Consumer Federation, DRA, Greenlining, LIF and TURN (collectively, filing as "Joint Consumer Groups" and referred to as "CDGLT-Joint Consumer Groups"); Small LECs; SureWest and Verizon California.
9 Parties filing opening comments on Phase II-B issues were AT&T; Consumer Federation, DRA, Greenlining and TURN (collectively, filing as "Joint Consumer Groups" and referred to as "CDGT-Joint Consumer Groups"); Consumer Federation; Cox California Telcom, L.L.C., dba Cox Communications (Cox); Cricket; CTIA; LIF; Small LECs; SureWest; Verizon California and Verizon Wireless. Parties filing reply comments on Phase II-B issues were AT&T; DRA, Greenlining and TURN (collectively, filing as "Joint Consumer Groups" and referred to as "DGT-Joint Consumer Groups"); Consumer Federation; Cox California Telcom, L.L.C., dba Cox Communications (Cox); Cricket; CTIA; LIF; Small LECs; SureWest; Verizon California and Verizon Wireless.
10 Joint Telecommunications Carriers is comprised of AT&T, Cox, Cricket, CTIA, Small LECs, Sprint PCS, SureWest, T-Mobile, Verizon California and Verizon Wireless.
11 CDT-Joint Consumer Groups are comprised of Consumer Federation, DRA, and TURN.
12 Verizon Wireless is also listed as a member in the Comments of Joint Telecommunications Carriers on Proposals of CDT-Joint Consumer Groups and the LIF Addressing LEP Complaint and Language Preference Tracking.