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News Release
 
Regional Test Of U S WEST's OSS Achieves Two Important Milestones
 
December 13, 1999 (1999-053)
 
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Sterling Sawyer, Utility Analyst, 503 378-6621
 
Salem, OR - The Regional OSS (operating support systems) Collaborative among states served by U S WEST recently accomplished two important milestones, including agreeing upon twenty principles to guide the scope of the test. The test determines the effectiveness of U S WEST’s OSS.
 
First, representatives from the states, competitive local exchange carriers and U S WEST participated in a workshop December 2 and 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota, to develop the principles and scope of the test. The 20 principles that were agreed upon will be used to define the test and draft a master test plan to be used by an independent third-party tester who will be selected by the states to conduct the test.
 
Second, U S WEST has executed contracts with Maxim Telecom Consulting Group and the National Regulatory Research Institute, consultants that were selected by the states to assist them as project manager and administrative coordinator, respectively.
 
By definition, OSS refers to a variety of systems that enable a local telephone company to provide services to its customers, such as pre-ordering and ordering, installation, repair and maintenance, and billing. Competitors that resell a Bell Company’s (BOC) local telephone services or lease elements of the BOC's telephone network to provide local service, are dependent on access to its OSS to provide a level of local service to their customers comparable to that which the BOC provides. Competitors are disadvantaged when the BOC provides a lower level of OSS to competitors than it does to itself.
 
State Commissioners working on the regional testing of US WEST’s OSS feel that significant progress has been made as the year ends. Through the collaborative process begun last summer, initial organizational and planning activities for the project have recently been completed.
 
The participating state utility commissions will plan and oversee the third-party testing to ensure U S WEST offers systems that work to its competitors for local phone service and to enable U S WEST to earn earlier approval to offer full long-distance services in its region under Section 271 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. States involved in the project are: Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
 
"These are major milestones in a complex process. Our goal is to make sure competitive access to U S WEST’s systems is fair and non-discriminatory. In turn, U S WEST will be able to enter the in-state long distance market," said Joan H. Smith, Oregon Public Utility Commissioner.
 
Two more workshops are planned for early next year -- one to develop performance measurements to be used during the test of U S WEST's systems and one to develop the master test plan.
 
 
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