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News Release
Commission In Grants Pass On June 21
To Hear Telephone Service Complaints

June 14, 1999 (1999-024)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Phil Nyegaard, Telecommunications Administrator, 503 378-6436; Ron Karten, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, Ore. – The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) announced today that a public hearing on U S WEST Communications Inc. telephone service quality problems in the area will be on June 21 at 7 PM in City Council Chambers, 101 Northwest A in Grants Pass.
This public hearing comes in response to nearly 100 customer complaints from the area this year, combined with the company’s service reports to the Commission. According to U S WEST’s data, the area has experienced eight straight months of substandard service. (See accompanying chart.) From September, 1998 through April, 1999, the Grants Pass network switch had call blocking levels well below the Commission standards. In 15 of the last 16 months, the company has failed to meet the standards, with 13 of those months well below the standard. Complaints about "circuits busy" signals from the Grants Pass area to the Commission went up from 22 in all of the 1998 to 89 in the first five months of 1999.
"The reported data on service quality shows the community has had sub-par service for sometime. We’d like to give people a chance to tell us and US WEST what problems they’ve had with service. And we’d like the company to explain why it’s been this way and what they’re doing about it," said Commission Chairman Ron Eachus. "We’ll give everyone who wants to speak or ask questions a chance to do so," he added.
The Roseburg area experienced several months of excessive call blocking that was at times life-threatening. In response, the company and the Commission staff have agreed upon an expedited complaint process in which customers documenting unsatisfactory service may receive credits on their bills.
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