Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

News Release
Commission Promoting Telecom Competition With "Rocket Docket" Rule
July 27, 1999 (1999-030)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ron Karten, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, Ore. – The Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) today proposed a rule to speed up the process for resolving disputes between incumbent local telephone providers, including U S WEST and GTE, and telephone companies competing for local customers.
"The speedy resolution of complaints is going to be essential to a competitive marketplace," said Commission Chairman Ron Eachus. "If it takes a long time, the delay usually benefits the incumbent monopoly."
The federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed competitors access to the local telephone networks through interconnection agreements. According to OPUC staff, the proposed rule was designed to provide a flexible and efficient procedure for handling complaints over those agreements.
The rule requires the parties to prepare and provide notice early in the process and then to respond quickly. Petitioners will be required to file all supporting documentation at the time of the filing, and respondents to reply within 10 days, also with all supporting documentation.
The current process can take as long as eight months. Recently passed state legislation, SB 622, requires that the complaint process be resolved within 45 days.
The rule comes in response to many complaints the Commission has received recently regarding timely resolution of interconnection disputes. The Commission is seeking comment now through September, with a public meeting planned for October 19.
"The Commission hopes the rule will facilitate agreements and thereby encourage competitive telecommunications providers to offer more choices to Oregon consumers," said Commissioner Roger Hamilton.
- 30 -