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News Release
Commission Streamlines Extended Area Service (EAS) Process
October 17, 2000 (2000-050)
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 has streamlined the process by which it considers and acts upon Extended Area Service (EAS) petitions, reducing the length of the existing process by up to four months.
The new order follows measures taken by the Commission late last year to trim the process by an additional four and a half months. So what used to be a year and half to two year wait could now be as short as 13 months.
EAS allows telephone customers the ability to call nearby telephone exchanges without incurring long distance charges. EAS is important to many customers because it allows them toll-free access to family members and businesses, as well as emergency, governmental, and education services not available in their local calling area.
The order eliminates the initial step of examining calling pattern data . Instead all petitions will begin with a demographic hearing to determine whether a community of interest exists between the petitioning and target exchanges. Calling data will still be considered, however, only in context of determining overall usage between exchanges.
Previously the Commission required a minimum of four toll calls per access line per month in either direction between the petitioning exchange and the other exchanges listed in the petition. And more than fifty percent of customers in the petitioning exchange were required to make at least two calls per month to the other exchanges listed in the petition.
The new petitioning process will also allow subscribers to sign petitions as many times as they have lines if access lines are used as a surrogate for customer accounts. If customer accounts are used subscribers may sign petitions no more than once. The order does not change the requirement that petitions must bear the signatures of 25 percent of subscribers or 5,000, whichever is less, in the petitioning exchange.
And lastly, the order shortens the annual EAS implementation date. Instead of newly approved EAS petitions being implemented the first Saturday of October the new date will become the first Saturday in August.
The new changes apply to all petitions seeking EAS outside the Portland Metropolitian area. All docketed petitions will immediately proceed to a demographic hearing for a community of interest determination.
The Commission said the streamlining measures would reduce the time for EAS implementation while maintaining the current policy standards to ensure EAS expansions are in the public interest.
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