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Member Input Needed on IUB Proposed Rules

Friday, November 11, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jolene Davis
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Last week, the IUB issued a rulemaking that included dozens of proposed changes to the way Local Exchange Service will be regulated.  Click here to see the Rulemaking

Many of the proposals are positive, and remove outdated provisions relating to printed directories, pay telephones, extension plans, location and operation of the CO, safety programs, EAS surveys, terminal equipment and others.  Click here to see a short summary of all the rule changes.

For this Special Report, we seek your input on two of the IUB’s proposals:

Item #1:  IUB Suggests Carriers Provide or Pay for Cell Service During Extended Outages

In response to questions about CenturyLink’s inability to meet the current service restoration rules that require all customers to have service restored within 72 hours, the IUB proposes to require LECs to offer customers alternate service as follows: 

When the company fails to restore voice service to any customer within 72 hours after the problem is reported or is found by the company to be out of order, the company shall provide the customer with an alternative form of service until voice service can be provided. The alternative form of service provided shall be wireless telephone service unless the customer agrees otherwise.

Where an alternative form of service is impossible to provide, or if a customer already has a reliable alternative form of service, the company may credit the customer’s account in an amount equal to the pro rata monthly local exchange charge for each 24-hour day service was not provided, provide the customer with a credit to be applied to the customer’s existing wireless telephone service, or provide the customer with a mutually agreed upon alternative form of service.

Please give us some feedback on how and whether you would or could provide wireless service or whether it is acceptable to require LECs to provide a credit to customers to apply to their wireless service if they experience outages that last more than 72 hours. 

ITEM #2 -- IUB Proposes Definition of VoIP for Dereg Purposes

The Board proposes to amend the definition of a regulated utility by exempting internet-protocol-enabled service and VoIP service from all Board rules: (The new language is underlined) 

“Telephone utility” or “utility” means any person, partnership, business association, or corporation, domestic or foreign, owning or operating any facilities for furnishing communications service to the public for compensation, but does not include a provider of internet protocol-enabled service or voice over internet protocol service. The Board shall not directly or indirectly regulate the entry, rates, terms, or conditions for internet protocol-enabled service or voice over internet protocol service, but voice over internet protocol service may be subject to fees subsequently established by state statute, such as 911 or Dual Party Relay Service.

The IUB proposes to define “Internet protocol-enabled service” to means “any service, capability, functionality or application that uses internet protocol or any successor protocol and enables an end user to send or receive voice, data, or video communication in internet protocol format or a successor format.”

We know that many of you utilize some form of VoIP in our networks and call paths.  It may be that full “VoIP dereg” can benefit our members as they transition toward VoIP networks. 

Please take a look at the proposed VoIP definition and the exclusion and let us know if your current or planned voice service would be considered to offer VoIP or be excluded. 

(definition)  “Voice over internet protocol service” means an internet protocol enabled service that facilitates real time, two-way voice communication that originates from, or terminates at, a user’s location and permits the user to receive a call that originates from the public switched network.

(exclusion) “Voice over internet protocol service” does not include a service that uses ordinary customer premises equipment with no enhanced functionality that originates from and terminates on the public switched telephone network, undergoes no net protocol conversion, and provides no enhanced functionality to end users due to the provider’s use of internet protocol technology.

Comments are due November 23rd, so please respond with your input to Dave Duncan as soon as you can.

Thank you! 

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