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News Release
U S WEST Service Quality Data To Be Made Public
June 6, 2000 (2000-028)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR - The Oregon Public Utility Commission today resolved a dispute with US WEST over confidentiality of service quality data, clearing the way to make the information available to the public.
US WEST had asserted the records are protected trade secrets and have commercial value. But the PUC disagreed, saying that withholding the data from public scrutiny threatens the safety, health and welfare of the public.
In the stipulation signed by the company, PUC staff, the Citizens' Utility Board, and Parker Communications, the company waived its objections. The Commission intends to post US WEST service quality data on its web site. As part of the stipulation, it was agreed the PUC will also post service quality data from the State's other telecommunications providers, GTE, Sprint and CenturyTel.
"This is a victory for the public," said Commission Chairman Ron Eachus. "We believed all along the public was entitled to this information. It's too bad it took this long to resolve as a result of US WEST's insistence on holding to some pretty weak justifications for secrecy."
The PUC web site will provide customers with specific information on wire centers in their communities, which US WEST previously labeled as secret. The site will also include information on how long it takes orders to get filled, to how long callers wait to get through to a company's business office.
Commissioners said they are hopeful the web site postings will put pressure on all telecommunications companies regulated by the PUC to create high levels of service quality as well as help customers evaluate a company's level of service.
"In today's ever changing world of telecommunications, it's more important than ever consumers have access to service quality information on companies doing business in Oregon," said Commissioner Roger Hamilton.
The service quality data will immediately be made available to a number of groups, which have pending public record requests. They include the City of Grants Pass, Oregon; Oakridge Ad Hoc Telecommunications Committee; Parker Telecommunications; Roseburg Forest Products Company, Telecommunications Task Force of the Roseburg Chamber of Commerce; The Grants Pass Daily Courier; The Register Guard; The News Times; and The Statesman Journal.
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