WSR 16-20-003
[Docket UT-160196, General Order R-587—Filed September 22, 2016, 8:50 a.m., effective October 23, 2016]
In the matter of amending and repealing certain rules in chapter 480-120 WAC, Relating to the Washington telephone assistance plan (WTAP) and to the Washington Exchange Carriers Association (WECA).
1 STATUTORY OR OTHER AUTHORITY: The Washington utilities and transportation commission (commission) takes this action under Notice No. WSR 16-11-096, filed with the code reviser on May 18, 2016. The commission has authority to take this action pursuant to RCW 80.01.040, 80.04.160, 80.36.135, and 80.36.440.
2 STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE: This proceeding complies with the Administrative Procedure Act (chapter 34.05 RCW), the State Register Act (chapter 34.08 RCW), the State Environmental Policy Act of 1971 (chapter 43.21C RCW), and the Regulatory Fairness Act (chapter 19.85 RCW).
3 DATE OF ADOPTION: The commission adopts this rule on the date this order is entered.
4 CONCISE STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND EFFECT OF THE RULE: RCW 34.05.325(6) requires the commission to prepare and publish a concise explanatory statement about an adopted rule. The statement must identify the commission's reasons for adopting the rule, describe the differences between the version of the proposed rules published in the register and the rules adopted (other than editing changes), summarize the comments received regarding the proposed rule changes, and state the commission's responses to the comments reflecting the commission's consideration of them.
5 To avoid unnecessary duplication in the record of this docket, the commission designates the discussion in this order, including appendices, as its concise explanatory statement. This order provides a complete but concise explanation of the agency's actions and its reasons for taking those actions.
6 REFERENCE TO AFFECTED RULES: This order amends and repeals the following sections of the Washington Administrative Code: Amending WAC 480-120-021 Definitions, 480-120-061 Refusing service, 480-120-103 Application for service and 480-120-174 Payment arrangements; and repealing WAC 480-120-259 Washington telephone assistance program and 480-120-352 Washington Exchange Carrier Association.
7 PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY AND ACTIONS THEREUNDER: The commission filed a preproposal statement of inquiry (CR-101) on March 2, 2016, at WSR 16-06-119.
8 The statement advised interested persons that the commission was considering entering a rule making as a follow-up to the rule making in Docket UT-140680. The commission repealed WAC 480-120-440 in that proceeding, and the rule contained important service outage restoral requirements, as well as notice requirements related to planned outages. Other rules in chapter 480-120 WAC contain cross references to rules that were repealed. WTAP no longer exists, and rules related to that program are moot. Similarly, WECA has been discontinued because the commission now handles WECA's primary function of administering a universal service fund pursuant to rules in chapter 480-123 WAC, so WAC 480-120-352 is unnecessary. The commission also informed persons of this inquiry by providing notice of the subject and the CR-101 to everyone on the commission's list of persons requesting such information pursuant to RCW 34.05.320(3) and by sending notice to all parties interested in the previous rule-making Docket UT-140680, all registered telecommunications companies, and the commission's list of telecommunications attorneys. Pursuant to the notice, the commission received written comments on April 4, 2016.
9 NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE MAKING: The commission filed a notice of proposed rule making (CR-102) on May 18, 2016, at WSR 16-11-096. The commission scheduled this matter for oral comment and adoption under Notice No. WSR 16-11-096 at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in the Commission's Hearing Room, Second Floor, Richard Hemstad Building, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA. The date of the hearing was subsequently changed to Monday, July 18, 2016, under Notice No. WSR 16-13-097. The notice provided interested persons the opportunity to submit written comments to the commission.
10 WRITTEN COMMENTS: The commission received written comments from the Washington Independent Telecommunications Association (WITA), Frontier Communications NW, Inc. (Frontier), and CenturyLink. Summaries of all written comments and commission staff's responses are contained in the commission staff (staff) memorandum included in Appendix A, shown below, and made part of, this order.
11 RULE-MAKING HEARING: The commission considered the proposed rules for adoption at a rule-making hearing on Monday, July 18, 2016, before Chairman David W. Danner, Commissioner Philip B. Jones, and Commissioner Ann E. Rendahl. The commission heard oral comments from staff, CenturyLink, Frontier, and WITA, all of which repeated and expanded on the written comments.
12 SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGE THAT ARE REJECTED/ACCEPTED: Written and oral comments suggested changes to the proposed rules. The suggested changes and staff's response are included in Appendix A. The commission agrees with and adopts the responses to the suggested changes in that appendix except with respect to adoption of WAC 480-120-441.1 The commission concurs with CenturyLink, Frontier, and WITA that the commission should not adopt that rule at this time.
1 The commission also modifies for clarity the revised language WITA proposed to the definition of "Order date" in WAC 480-120-021.
13 The commission agrees with the commenters that the record in Docket UT-140680 does not support the conclusion that the commission inadvertently repealed WAC 480-120-440 in that prior rule making. The adoption order identifies, although does not discuss, that rule, and staff included the rule in its original proposal and responded to comments from one commenter who objected to the rule's repeal. The commission may not have fully considered the impact of repealing that rule, but we cannot say that its repeal was due to a ministerial error. Accordingly, we must determine whether the record demonstrates a need to readopt that rule.2 We conclude that it does not.
2 CenturyLink observes that the CR-101 expressly states that the commission proposed to readopt WAC 480-120-440 because the commission inadvertently repealed it, but CenturyLink concedes that this statement does not preclude the commission from adopting proposed WAC 480-120-441 on other grounds. TR 16:21 – 17:6.
14 CenturyLink, Frontier, and WITA contend that readopting WAC 480-120-440 is inconsistent with the commission's past recognition of the competitiveness of the telecommunications market in Washington. Frontier and CenturyLink point to the commission's grant of minimal or reduced regulation for both companies and to the lack of any commission oversight over wireless and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) companies. These commenters argue that the legacy restrictions in WAC 480-120-441 are unnecessary when dissatisfied customers have the option to obtain service from other providers and that adoption of that rule would unfairly hobble them but not their competitors.
15 We do not find these arguments persuasive. Minimal or reduced regulation does not mean no regulation. All of the commission's rules governing telecommunications companies would be needlessly constraining if we accepted the commenters' position. We decline to do so. The commission has a statutory obligation to ensure that landline telephone companies provide fair, just, and reasonable services to consumers in this state. The commission's lack of jurisdiction to establish and enforce service quality standards for wireless and nomadic VoIP service providers does not absolve the commission of that responsibility. We will not facilitate a race to the bottom of consumer protection.
16 More compelling is the information that CenturyLink, and to a lesser extent Frontier and WITA, provided in response to staff's figures on the increased number of outage complaints since the commission repealed WAC 480-120-440. Most, if not all, of those outages are attributable to adverse weather conditions and thus would have been excluded under that rule if it had still been in effect. All of the commenters, moreover, provided information demonstrating that they have not reduced staffing levels for technicians qualified to restore basic telephone service during that time. Staff also explained that it has relied on WAC 480-120-411 in the absence of WAC 480-120-440 to require that companies "promptly" restore service in the event of an outage. Based on the information before us, we do not believe that the record sufficiently warrants readoption of the repealed rule, at least in that form.
17 We nevertheless find that staff has raised concerns that merit further consideration. Fair, just, and reasonable telecommunications service includes an obligation to restore service following an outage as expeditiously as practicable. As staff points out, other states have rules that reflect this principle.3 The commission continues to receive complaints from customers that their service provider is not satisfying this requirement, and many of those consumers do not have a competitive alternative. While we are not prepared to readopt former WAC 480-120-440, we are not satisfied to rely solely on WAC 480-120-411 to address this issue. The existing rule's requirement that problems be remedied "promptly," for example, provides insufficient guidance to both companies and consumers on what constitutes a reasonable time in which providers must restore service.
3 See Appendix A, staff memo at 4 (describing the applicable rules in four other states).
18 Accordingly, we will open another rule making to consider the appropriate standard for restoring regulated telecommunications service following an outage. Pending the conclusion of that rule making, we find that, in the absence of extenuating circumstances, forty-eight hours is an appropriate benchmark for determining whether a company has "promptly" repaired or restored service problems in compliance with WAC 480-120-411. Extenuating circumstances include, but are not necessarily limited to, severe weather, natural disasters, or other causes beyond the company's control for as long as those conditions persist.
19 COMMISSION ACTION: After considering all of the information regarding this proposal, the commission finds and concludes that it should amend and repeal the rules as proposed in the CR-102 at WSR 16-11-096 with the changes described below.
20 CHANGES FROM PROPOSAL: The commission adopts the proposal with the following changes from the text noticed at WSR 16-11-096:
WAC 480-120-021, definition of "Order date," second sentence, strike "the actions are completed by the applicant if" and substitute "those actions have been completed and the applicant notifies the company of that completion unless" and strike the following "not."
WAC 480-120-174, subsection (2), strike all references to the Washington telephone assistance program or WTAP.
WAC 480-120-441, not adopted.
21 STATEMENT OF ACTION; STATEMENT OF EFFECTIVE DATE: After reviewing the entire record, the commission determines that the WAC sections listed in paragraph 6 above should be amended or repealed to read as set forth in Appendix B, as rules of the commission, to take effect pursuant to RCW 34.05.380(2) on the thirty-first day after filing with the code reviser.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 4, Repealed 2.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
23 The commission amends and repeals the sections in chapter 480-120 WAC to read as set forth in Appendix B, as rules of the commission, to take effect on the thirty-first day after the date of filing with the code reviser pursuant to RCW 34.05.380(2).
24 This order and the rule set out below, after being recorded in the order register of the commission, shall be forwarded to the code reviser for filing pursuant to chapters 80.01 and 34.05 RCW and 1-21 WAC.
DATED at Olympia, Washington, September 22, 2016.
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
David W. Danner, Chairman
Philip B. Jones, Commissioner
Ann E. Rendahl, Commissioner
Appendix A
(Commission Staff Memorandum)
TO: Dave Danner, Chairman; Phil Jones, Commissioner; Ann Rendahl, Commissioner.
FROM: John Cupp, Greg Kopta, Alice Fiman, Jennifer Cameron-Rulkowski, Jing Roth.
DATE: July 12, 2016.
SUBJECT: Rule making to consider amending, adopting, and repealing certain rules in chapter 480-120 WAC, Telephone companies.
RE: Adoption hearing, July 18, 2016.
RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends that the commission adopt the revised rules as published in the CR-102 filed with the code reviser. Staff also recommends additional changes to WAC 480-120-021 and 480-120-174 as described in this memo.
BACKGROUND: On March 2, 2016, the commission filed a CR-101 to consider reinstating WAC 480-120-440 (as WAC 480-120-441), which was repealed effective April 26, 2015, in UT-140680; to remove or amend references to rules that were repealed or moved in UT-140680; to remove rules and references related to WTAP; and to remove a rule related to WECA.
On March 4, the commission issued a notice of opportunity for the telecommunications industry to file written comments regarding the proposed rule changes. Interested persons filed comments on April 4, 2016.
On May 18, the commission filed a CR-102 with the office of the code reviser. On May 20, the commission issued a CR-102 notice of proposed rule making and drafts reflecting the changes proposed in the CR-101. Comments were due June 20.
On June 15, CenturyLink requested the deadline for filing comments be extended to July 5. The commission granted the company's request.
STAKEHOLDER COMMENTS: The commission received comments in response to the CR-102 from three stakeholders: CenturyLink, Frontier, and WITA. None of the stakeholders oppose the proposals to repeal and amend the existing rules specified in the CR-102. The commenting stakeholders, however, disagree with the proposal to reinstate WAC 480-120-440. In addition, CenturyLink continues to propose WAC 480-120-133 be repealed, and WITA recommends a change in WAC 480-120-021 related to the definition of "Order date." WITA also continues to recommend the commission take action to conform rules to "steps taken by the FCC in Order No. 15-166."
1. CenturyLink: "… two months of increased complaints during some of the worst weather events in recent history do not justify adoption of this rule …."
RESPONSE: The data used to show the spike in violations was based on complaints from January 2013 through March 2016. The majority of the violations during this period were noted during the months following the windstorm that hit Spokane in November 2015. These restoral violations were significantly higher than the number staff recorded from the winter storm of January 2012. In January 2012, western Washington experienced a severe winter storm that resulted in a state of emergency also being declared. During the first six months of 2012, staff recorded a total of only four violations of WAC 480-120-440 against CenturyLink entities, including Qwest.
The data that CenturyLink provided in response to the CR-102 indicates a total of one hundred thirty-six outage complaints from May 2015 through April 2016. This is a significant increase from the previous year when CenturyLink identified thirty outage complaints. Staff believes that the repeal of WAC 480-120-440 played a role in the increased number of violations in the April 2015 through March 2016 data.
2. CenturyLink: Force majeure events, not the repeal of WAC 480-120-440, caused longer repair intervals.
RESPONSE: Since the repeal of WAC 480-120-440, staff has used WAC 480-120-411 to govern all outage situations, and that rule does not take into account force majeure events or major outages. The forty-eight hour restoral requirement in WAC 480-120-440, on the other hand, does not apply if the out-of-service condition is part of a major outage, if the company is physically obstructed from restoring service, or because of force majeure. If the majority of outages since the repeal of WAC 480-120-440 have been the result of force majeure as CenturyLink claims, that rule (had it been in effect) would have resulted in fewer violations.
Staff believes reinstatement of WAC 480-120-440 will benefit the companies by excluding major outages, force majeure events, and situations of physical obstruction. It will benefit staff by separating maintenance related issues and other outage events for compliance tracking purposes. It will benefit consumers who do not or cannot have wireless or VoIP service by providing a specific standard for restoral, especially those customers with security systems or medical alert devices.
3. CenturyLink: "… some repairs simply take more than 48 hours to complete."
RESPONSE: Staff understands this. All of the complaints included in the data in this rule making are informal complaints. As such, all violations in the data are alleged violations, which are considered technical assistance. Only in a formal proceeding would violations result in penalties. Staff believes the nature of the needed repair work would be taken into consideration in the event of a formal investigation.
4. CenturyLink: "… the number of complaints overall is still very small and declining …."
RESPONSE: Complaint records show that CenturyLink complaints are increasing annually, as follows:
While complaint numbers are much lower than they were fifteen years ago, the current trend does not show a decline.
5. CenturyLink: The rule will not enhance compliance or change behaviors.
RESPONSE: Staff cannot guarantee that the company will comply with the rule, or change its behavior if the rule is reinstated. Staff believes company behavior has changed since the rule was repealed. Staff reviewed a sampling of complaints with restoral violations that were opened after the rule was repealed and found sixteen complaints where the company received outage calls and gave repair commitment dates over ten days beyond the forty-eight hour limit, several were twenty or more days over the limit. Nearly all the commitment times of over ten days were from December 2015 through February 2016; however, staff did not include any complaints from eastern Washington in the sampling.
A search of complaints with restoral violations opened before WAC 480-120-440 was repealed found occasional commitment dates beyond forty-eight hours, but none ten days beyond the limit.
6. CenturyLink: The rule is not necessary. If it were, other states and other utilities would have a similar rule. No other state in CenturyLink's serving area has a rule like the proposed rule.
RESPONSE: WAC 480-120-440 is necessary. In its place, staff has used WAC 480-120-411, which is a network maintenance rule, in all outage situations. Not all out-of-service conditions are related to network maintenance. Using a maintenance rule to track outages makes it difficult for staff to differentiate issues related to poor maintenance from outages caused by unforeseen events.
Other states have rules similar to WAC 480-120-440. For example:
Idaho Telephone Customer Relations Rules: 31.41.01 502.01 requires restoral of eighty percent of outages within forty-eight hours after report of the outage. If the outage creates an emergency for the customer, service must be restored within sixteen hours. More time is allowed when outages are reported on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.
Montana Administrative Rules: 38.5.3371(7) says ninety percent of service trouble reports shall be cleared within twenty-four hours, excluding Sunday. Exceptions are allowed for lack of access to premises or "where interruptions are caused by unavoidable causalities and acts of God affecting large groups of customers."
Texas Administrative Code: Substantive Rules Chapter 26.54 Subchapter C (6)(D), requires at least ninety percent of out-of-service reports to be cleared within eight working hours, with exceptions for unavoidable casualties and acts of God affecting large groups of customers.
Code of Colorado Regulations: 4 CCR 732-2 2341 (b)(I) require eighty-five percent of out-of-service reports for each wire center be cleared within twenty-four hours.
7. Frontier: Reinstating the rule would discriminate against ILECs who face a hyper-competitive industry.
RESPONSE: Staff understands that wireless and unregistered VoIP providers are not subject to commission rules. WAC 480-120-440 applied to all ILECs and CLECs, many with customers who have no access to wireless or VoIP services. Staff believes these customers rely on rules that ensure consistently reliable service. Relaxation of regulation should not discriminate against these customers.
8. WITA: A history that shows no violations does not support reinstating a rule for WITA's member companies.
RESPONSE: WAC 480-120-440 would apply to all regulated telecommunications companies, not only WITA members.
COMMENTS REGARDING WAC 480-120-133 AND 480-120-021
9. CenturyLink: WAC 480-120-133 should be repealed because it is outdated and unnecessary.
RESPONSE: WAC 480-120-133 is not within the scope of the CR-102, and thus the commission cannot consider it in this rule making. Even if that were not the case, the rule addresses "Response time for calls to business office or repair center during regular business hours." The rule explains how quickly a company representative or automated system must answer a call, and how quickly an automated system must provide an option for a live representative. Staff does not agree that this rule is outdated or unnecessary. Hold times are an ongoing source of frustration for consumers. Relaxing the requirements in this rule is likely to exacerbate the problem.
10. WITA: The definition of "Order date" in WAC 480-120-021 says, "when specific actions are required of the applicant, the order date becomes the date the actions are completed by the applicant if the company has not already installed or activated service." This language is potentially problematic because the company may not be aware that an applicant has completed the required actions. The company proposes the following language: "when specific actions are required of the applicant, following completion of the required actions, the order date becomes the date on which the company receives notice from the applicant of such completion, if the company has not already installed or activated service."
RESPONSE: Staff supports this change.
11. WITA: WITA recommends the commission take action to conform its rules to "steps taken by the FCC in Order No. 15-166."
RESPONSE: As even WITA acknowledges, these rules are outside the scope of the CR-102, so the commission cannot consider them in this rule making.
ADDITIONAL RULE AMENDMENT TO WAC 480-120-174: Staff recommends a housekeeping change that was not previously proposed. In a previous telecommunications rule making, in Docket UT-140680, WAC 480-120-174 was amended to remove a reference to WTAP. A reference to that information is now obsolete and should be deleted.
CONCLUSION: Staff recommends that the commission adopt the revised rules as shown in Attachment A.
cc: Steve King, Executive Director and Secretary;
Pat Hazzard, Director, Safety and Consumer Protection;
Greg Kopta, Administrative Law Division;
Brian Thomas, Director, Policy;
Bridgit Feeser, Assistant Director, Consumer Protection;
Jing Roth, Assistant Director, Telecommunications;
Alice Fiman, Consumer Protection Manager; and
Jennifer Cameron-Rulkowski, Attorney General's Office.
WAC 480-120-440 should be reinstated in its entirety.
Staff's remaining recommendations are not disputed. Staff recommends changes to remove and amend rules as follows:
WAC 480-120-021 Definitions, definition of "Order date" refers to WAC 480-120-112. This reference should be removed.
WAC 480-120-061 (1)(d)(ii), Refusing service, refers to WAC 480-120-132, which is now WAC 480-120-104(5). This reference should be amended accordingly.
WAC 480-120-103(2), Application for service, refers to WAC 480-120-105 and 480-120-112, which were repealed in a previous rule making. Both references should be removed.
WAC 480-120-021 Definitions, "Washington telephone assistance program" should be removed.
WAC 480-120-174(2), Payment arrangements, this subsection describes the restoral of service to WTAP subscribers. This subsection should be removed.
WAC 480-120-259, Washington telephone assistance plan, should be repealed in its entirety.
WECA has been discontinued. Staff recommends WAC 480-120-352 be repealed accordingly.
These recommended changes were not in the CR-102:
WAC 480-120-021 Definitions, in addition to changes listed above, "Order date" should be amended to reflect changes as recommended by WITA.
WAC 480-120-174(2), Payment arrangements, a reference to subsection (2) is obsolete and should be removed.
Appendix B
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 15-08-043, filed 3/26/15, effective 4/26/15)
WAC 480-120-021 Definitions.
The definitions in this section apply throughout the chapter except where there is an alternative definition in a specific section, or where the context clearly requires otherwise.
"Access charge" means a rate charged by a local exchange company to an interexchange company for the origination, transport, or termination of a call to or from a customer of the local exchange company. Such origination, transport, and termination may be accomplished either through switched access service or through special or dedicated access service.
"Access line" means a circuit providing exchange service between a customer's standard network interface and a serving switching center.
"Affiliate" means an entity that directly or indirectly owns or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with, another entity.
"Affiliated interest" means a person or corporation as defined in RCW 80.16.010.
"Ancillary services" means all local service features excluding basic service.
"Applicant" means any person applying to a telecommunications company for new service or reconnection of discontinued service.
"Average busy hour" means a time-consistent hour of the day during which a switch or trunk carries the most traffic. This definition is applied on an individual switch and an individual trunk basis.
"Basic service" means service that includes the following:
• Single-party service;
• Voice grade access to the public switched network;
• Support for local use;
• Dual tone multifrequency signaling (touch-tone);
• Access to emergency services (E911);
• Access to operator services;
• Access to interexchange services;
• Access to directory assistance; and
• Toll limitation services.
"Business" means a for profit or not-for-profit organization, including, but not limited to, corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, government agencies, and other entities or associations.
"Business days" means days of the week excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and official state holidays.
"Business office" means an office or service center provided and maintained by a company.
"Business service" means service other than residential service.
"Busy season" means an annual, recurring, and reasonably predictable three-month period of the year when a switch or trunk carries the most traffic. This definition is applied on an individual switch and an individual trunk basis.
"Call aggregator" means any corporation, company, partnership, or person, who, in the ordinary course of its operations, makes telephones available to the public or to users of its premises for telephone calls using a provider of operator services, including, but not limited to, hotels, motels, hospitals, campuses, and pay phones (see also pay phone service providers).
"Category of service" means local, data services such as digital subscriber line service, interexchange, or CMRS. Information about a customer's intraLATA and interLATA primary interexchange carrier freeze status is part of the local category.
"Central office" means a company facility that houses the switching and trunking equipment serving a defined area.
"Centrex" means a telecommunications service providing a customer with direct inward dialing to telephone extensions and direct outward dialing from them.
"Class A company" means a local exchange company with two percent or more of the access lines within the state of Washington. The method of determining whether a company is a Class A company is specified in WAC 480-120-034 (Classification of local exchange companies as Class A or Class B).
"Class B company" means a local exchange company with less than two percent of the access lines within the state of Washington. The method of determining whether a company is a Class B company is specified in WAC 480-120-034 (Classification of local exchange companies as Class A or Class B).
"Commercial mobile radio service (CMRS)" means any mobile (wireless) telecommunications service that is provided for profit that makes interconnected service available to the public or to such classes of eligible users as to be effectively available to a substantial portion of the public.
"Commission (agency)" in a context meaning a state agency, means the Washington utilities and transportation commission.
"Company" means any telecommunications company as defined in RCW 80.04.010.
"Competitively classified company" means a company that is classified as competitive by the commission pursuant to RCW 80.36.320.
"Control" means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a company, whether through the ownership of voting shares, by contract, or otherwise.
"Customer" means a person to whom the company is currently providing service.
"Customer premises equipment (CPE)" is equipment located on the customer side of the SNI (other than a company) and used to originate, route, or terminate telecommunications.
"Department" means the department of social and health services.
"Discontinue; discontinuation; discontinued" means the termination or any restriction of service to a customer.
"Drop facilities" means company-supplied wire and equipment placed between a premises and the company distribution plant at the applicant's property line.
"Due date" means the date an action is required to be completed by rule or, when permitted, the date chosen by a company and provided to a customer as the date to complete an action.
"Eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC)" means a carrier designated as an ETC pursuant to 47 U.S.C. Sec. 214(e).
"Emergency response facility" means fire stations, hospitals, police stations, and state and municipal government emergency operations centers.
"Exchange" means a geographic area established by a company for telecommunications service within that area.
"Extended area service (EAS)" means telephone service extending beyond a customer's exchange, for which the customer may pay an additional flat-rate amount per month.
"Facility or facilities" means lines, conduits, ducts, poles, wires, cables, cross-arms, receivers, transmitters, instruments, machines, appliances, instrumentalities and all devices, real estate, easements, apparatus, property and routes used, operated, owned or controlled by a telecommunications company to facilitate the provision of telecommunications service.
"Force majeure" means natural disasters, including fire, flood, earthquake, windstorm, avalanche, mudslide, and other similar events; acts of war or civil unrest when an emergency has been declared by appropriate governmental officials; acts of civil or military authority; embargoes; epidemics; terrorist acts; riots; insurrections; explosions; and nuclear accidents.
"Interexchange" means telephone calls, traffic, facilities or other items that originate in one exchange and terminate in another.
"Interexchange company" means a company, or division thereof, that provides long distance (toll) service.
"Interoffice facilities" means facilities connecting two or more telephone switching centers.
"InterLATA" is a term used to describe services, revenues, functions, etc., that relate to telecommunications originating in one LATA and terminating outside of the originating LATA.
"IntraLATA" is a term used to describe services, revenues, functions, etc., that relate to telecommunications that originate and terminate within the same LATA.
"Local access and transport area (LATA)" means a local access transport area as defined by the commission in conformance with applicable federal law.
"Local calling area" means one or more rate centers within which a customer can place calls without incurring long-distance (toll) charges.
"Local exchange company (LEC)" means a company providing local exchange telecommunications service.
"Major outages" means a service failure lasting for thirty or more minutes that causes the disruption of local exchange or toll services to more than one thousand customers; total loss of service to a public safety answering point or emergency response agency; intercompany trunks or toll trunks not meeting service requirements for four hours or more and affecting service; or an intermodal link blockage (no dial tone) in excess of five percent for more than one hour in any switch or remote switch.
"Missed commitment" means orders for exchange access lines for which the company does not provide service by the due date.
"Order date" means the date when an applicant requests service unless a company identifies specific actions a customer must first take in order to be in compliance with tariffs or commission rules. Except as provided in WAC 480-120-061 (Refusing service) and 480-120-104 (Information to consumers), when specific actions are required of the applicant, the order date becomes the date ((the actions are completed by)) those actions have been completed and the applicant ((if)) notifies the company of that completion unless the company has ((not)) already installed or activated service.
((When an applicant requests service that requires customer-ordered special equipment, for purposes of calculating compliance with the one hundred eighty-day requirement of WAC 480-120-112 (Company performance for orders for nonbasic service) the order date is the application date unless the applicant fails to provide the support structure or perform other requirements of the tariff. In the event the applicant fails to provide the support structure or perform the other requirements of the tariff a new order date is established as the date when the applicant does provide the support structure or perform the other requirements of the tariff.))
"Pay phone" or "pay telephone" means any telephone made available to the public on a fee-per-call basis independent of any other commercial transaction. A pay phone or pay telephone includes telephones that are coin-operated or are activated by calling collect or using a calling card.
"Pay phone services" means provision of pay phone equipment to the public for placement of local exchange, interexchange, or operator service calls.
"Pay phone service provider (PSP)" means any corporation, company, partnership, or person who owns or operates and makes pay phones available to the public.
"Payment agency" means a physical location established by a local exchange company, either on its own premises or through a subcontractor, for the purpose of receiving cash and urgent payments from customers.
"Person" means an individual, or an organization such as a firm, partnership, corporation, municipal corporation, agency, association or other entity.
"Prior obligation" means an amount owed to a local exchange company or an interexchange company for regulated services at the time the company physically toll-restricts, interrupts, or discontinues service for nonpayment.
"Proprietary" means owned by a particular person.
"Provision" means supplying telecommunications service to a customer.
"Public access line (PAL)" means an access line equipped with features to detect coins, permit the use of calling cards, and such other features as may be used to provision a pay phone.
"Public safety answering point (PSAP)" means an answering location for enhanced 911 (E911) calls originating in a given area. PSAPs are designated as primary or secondary. Primary PSAPs receive E911 calls directly from the public; secondary PSAPs receive E911 calls only on a transfer or relay basis from the primary PSAP. Secondary PSAPs generally serve as centralized answering locations for a particular type of emergency call.
"Radio communications service company" has the meaning found in RCW 80.04.010, except that for the purposes of this section it includes only those companies providing two-way voice communication as a common carrier.
"Residential service" means basic service to a household.
"Restricted basic service" means either the ability to receive incoming calls, make outgoing calls, or both through voice grade access to the public switched network, including E911 access, but not including other services that are a part of basic service.
"Results of operations" means a fiscal year financial statement concerning regulated operations that include revenues, expenses, taxes, net operating income, and rate base. The rate of return is also included as part of the results of operations. The rate of return is the percentage of net operating income to the rate base.
"Service interruption" means a loss of or impairment of service that is not due to, and is not, a major outage.
"Service provider" means any business that offers a product or service to a customer, the charge for which appears on the customer's telephone bill.
"Special circuit" means an access line specially conditioned to give it characteristics suitable for handling special or unique services.
"Standard network interface (SNI)" means the protector that generally marks the point of interconnection between company communications facilities and customer's terminal equipment, protective apparatus, or wiring at a customer's premises. The network interface or demarcation point is located on the customer's side of the company's protector, or the equivalent thereof in cases where a protector is not employed.
"Station" means a telephone instrument installed for a customer to use for toll and exchange service.
"Subscriber list information (SLI)" means any information:
(a) Identifying the listed names of subscribers of a company and those subscribers' telephone numbers, addresses, or primary advertising classifications (as such classifications are assigned when service is established), or any combination of listed names, numbers, addresses, or classifications; and
(b) That the company or an affiliate has published, caused to be published, or accepted for publication in any directory format.
"Subsidiary" means any company in which the telecommunications company owns directly or indirectly five percent or more of the voting securities, unless the telecommunications company demonstrates it does not have control.
"Support structure" means the trench, pole, or conduit used to provide a path for placement of drop facilities.
"Telecommunications service" means the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.
"Telemarketing" means contacting a person by telephone in an attempt to sell one or more products or services.
"Toll restriction" or "toll restricted" means a service that prevents the use of a local access line to initiate a long distance call using a presubscribed interexchange company.
"Traffic" means telecommunications activity on a telecommunications network, normally used in connection with measurements of capacity of various parts of the network.
"Trouble report" means a report of service affecting network problems reported by customers, and does not include problems on the customer's side of the SNI.
"Trunk" means, in a telecommunications network, a path connecting two switching systems used to establish end-to-end connection. In some circumstances, both of its terminations may be in the same switching system.
(("Washington telephone assistance program" means the program of local exchange service discounts administered by the department.))
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 07-08-027, filed 3/27/07, effective 4/27/07)
WAC 480-120-061 Refusing service.
(1) A company may refuse to connect with, or provide service to, an applicant under the following conditions:
(a) When service will adversely affect the service to existing customers.
(b) When the installation is considered hazardous.
(c) When the applicant has not complied with commission rules, company tariff, or rates, terms and conditions pursuant to competitive classification, and state, county, or municipal codes concerning the provision of telecommunications service such as building and electrical codes.
(d) When the company is unable to substantiate the identity of the individual requesting service.
(i) Companies must allow the applicant to substantiate identity with one piece of identification chosen from a list, provided by the company, of at least four sources of identification. The list must include a current driver's license or other picture identification.
(ii) Company business offices and payment agencies, required under WAC ((480-120-132)) 480-120-104(5) and 480-120-162, must provide a means for applicants to provide identification at no charge to the applicant.
(e) When the applicant has previously received service from the company by providing false information, including false statements of credit references or employment, false statement of premises address, or use of an alias or false name with intent to deceive, until the applicant corrects the false information to the satisfaction of the company.
(f) When the applicant owes an overdue, unpaid prior obligation to the company for the same class of service, until the obligation is paid or satisfactory arrangements are made.
(g) When the applicant requests service at an address where a former customer is known to reside with an overdue, unpaid prior obligation to the same company for the same class of service at that address and the company determines, based on objective evidence, that the applicant has cooperated with the prior customer with the intent to avoid payment. However, a company may not deny service if a former customer with an overdue, unpaid prior obligation has permanently vacated the address.
(h) When all necessary rights of way, easements, and permits have not been secured. The company is responsible for securing all necessary public rights of way, easements, and permits, including rights of way on every highway as defined in RCW 36.75.010(11) or created under RCW 36.75.070 or 36.75.080. The applicant is responsible for securing all necessary rights of way or easements on private property, including private roads or driveways as defined in RCW 36.75.010(10). A private road or driveway is one that has been ascertained by the company not to be public.
(2) A company may not withhold or refuse to release a telephone number to a customer who is transferring service to another telecommunications company within the same rate center where local number portability has been implemented.
(3) A telecommunications company must deny service to a nonregistered telecommunications company that intends to use the service requested to provide telecommunications for hire, sale, or resale to the general public within the state of Washington. Any telecommunications company requesting service from another telecommunications company must state in writing whether the service is intended to be used for intrastate telecommunications for hire, sale, or resale to the general public. If the service is intended for hire, sale, or resale on an intrastate basis, the company must certify in writing, in the same manner as required by RCW 9A.72.085, that it is properly registered with the commission to provide the service.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 08-19-001, filed 9/3/08, effective 10/4/08)
WAC 480-120-103 Application for service.
(1) When contacted by an applicant, or when a company contacts a person, a company must:
(a) Accept and process applications when an applicant for service for a particular location has met all tariff requirements and applicable commission rules;
(b) Establish the due date as the date requested by the applicant but is not required to establish a due date that is fewer than seven business days after the order date. If the company establishes a due date other than the date requested by the applicant, it must inform the applicant of the specific date when service will be provided or state that an estimated due date will be provided within seven business days as required by subsection (2) of this section; and
(c) Maintain a record in writing, or in electronic format, of each application for service, including requests for a change of service.
(2) If the company does not provide the applicant with a due date for installation or activation at the time of application as required in subsection (1)(b) of this section, the company must state the reason for the delay. Within seven business days of the date of the application, the company must provide the applicant with an estimated due date for installation or activation. ((The standards imposed by WAC 480-120-105 (Company performance standards for installation or activation of access lines) and 480-120-112 (Company performance for orders for nonbasic services) are not altered by this subsection.))
(3) When the company informs the customer that installation of new service orders requires on-premises access by the company, the company must offer the customer an opportunity for an installation appointment that falls within a four-hour period.
(4) When the application for service requires an extension of service as defined in WAC 480-120-071 (Extension of service), the requirement of subsection (1)(b) of this section does not apply.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 05-03-031, filed 1/10/05, effective 2/10/05)
WAC 480-120-174 Payment arrangements.
(1) General. Applicants or customers, excluding telecommunications companies as defined in RCW 80.04.010, are entitled to, and a company must allow, an initial use, and then, once every five years dating from the customer's most recent use of the option, an option to pay a prior obligation over not less than a six-month period. The company must restore service upon payment of the first installment if an applicant is entitled to the payment arrangement provided for in this section and, if applicable, the first installment of a deposit is paid as provided for in WAC 480-120-122 (Establishing creditResidential services).
(2) Restoring service based on ((Washington telephone assistance program (WTAP) or)) federal enhanced tribal lifeline program eligibility. Local exchange companies (LECs) must restore service for any customer who has had basic service discontinued for nonpayment under WAC 480-120-172 (Discontinuing serviceCompany initiated) if the customer was not a participant in ((either the Washington telephone assistance program (WTAP) or)) the federal enhanced tribal lifeline program at the time service was discontinued and if the customer is eligible to participate in ((WTAP or)) the federal enhanced tribal lifeline program at the time the restoration of service is requested. To have service restored under this subsection, a customer must establish eligibility for ((either WTAP or)) the federal enhanced tribal lifeline program, agree to continuing participation in ((WTAP or)) the federal enhanced tribal lifeline program, and agree to ((pay unpaid basic service and ancillary service amounts due to the LEC at the monthly rate of no more than one and one-half times the telephone assistance rate required to be paid by WTAP participants as ordered by the commission under WAC 480-122-020 (Washington telephone assistance program rate), agree to)) toll restriction, or ancillary service restriction, or both, if the company requires it, until the unpaid amounts are paid. Companies must not charge for toll restriction when restoring service under this section.
In the event a customer receiving service under this subsection fails to make a timely payment for either monthly basic service or for unpaid basic service or ancillary service, the company may discontinue service pursuant to WAC 480-120-172.
(3) Nothing in this rule precludes the company from entering into separate payment arrangements with any customer for unpaid toll charges or over a longer period than described in this rule as long as both the company and the customer agree to the payment arrangement. Longer payment arrangements as described in this subsection satisfy the requirements in subsection (1) or (2) of this section.
The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
WAC 480-120-259
Washington telephone assistance program.
WAC 480-120-352
Washington Exchange Carrier Association (WECA).