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News Release
Commission Encouraged by Qwest Service Quality Improvements
November 29, 2002 (2002 - 033)
Contacts:  Roy Hemmingway, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Lee Beyer, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – Qwest Communications gets high marks in the October Service Quality report prepared by the staff of the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
"This is the first time that I can remember Qwest has had zero held orders in a one month period and they had just four in September," said Senior Telecommunications Engineer Irv Emmons.
The report covers performance standards for such things as filling orders, and making repairs within a set amount of time and the performance of the company’s telecommunication network.
"This is really great. Our efforts and Qwest's efforts have paid off for customers throughout Oregon," said Commissioner Joan Smith.
In October the company met Commission service quality standards for blocking, business office center access, commitments for service (provisioning), held orders, held orders over 30 days, repair service center access, and repair reports cleared within 48 hours.
Service quality fines levied against Qwest for poor service have been steadily declining. In 2000, the Commission fined Qwest $725,000, for 2001 $225,000, and Qwest has accrued $65,000 in fines through the third quarter of this year. Recent issues include getting calls answered in a timely manner and performance of the network.
In June of 2001, the Commission put the company on a six-month plan because customers were having to wait too long to get their calls answered by Qwest when requesting various services.
Despite this recent improvement, the Commission will continue to closely monitor the company’s service quality performance in light of the company’s financial difficulties.
Of Qwest’s 77 wire centers, only one wire center failed to meet the minimum threshold for trouble report rates during October.
The Commission’s standards address the following service quality indicators.
Standard:  Ninety nine percent of dialed calls should not experience blocking during any normal busy hour.
Standard:  This standard sets the maximum time that a customer should wait to talk to a representative when ordering new service. The timing starts after the call is transferred from the voice response unit to a representative. Then a representative (live person) is required to answer the call within 20 seconds at least 85 percent of the time. A maximum of one percent of the calls may encounter a busy signal.
Standard:  Each telecommunications carrier provides a commitment date to a customer when they receive an order for service. This is a date by which service is expected. The date is normally six (6) business days unless another date is determined by good faith negotiations between the customer and the carrier. Each telecommunications carrier is required to meet at least 90 percent of its commitments for service.
Standard:  A held order is a request for service that is delayed beyond the commitment date due to lack of facilities. Telecommunication carriers are not to exceed the greater of two held orders per wire center per month averaged over their Oregon service territory or five held orders per 1,000 inward orders.
Standard:  The total number first line orders in excess of 30 days past the initial commitment date shall not exceed 10 percent of the total monthly held orders standard within a telecommunications carrier’s Oregon service territory.
Standard:  Each telecommunications carrier is to measure the answering time from the time a call is directed to a representative (real person). The representative is required to answer the call within 20 seconds at least 85 percent of the time. No more than one percent of the calls may encounter a busy signal.
Standard:  Each telecommunications carrier is required to repair reported trouble within 48 hours of receiving a report at least 95 percent of the time each month.
Standard:  Each telecommunications carrier is to maintain service so that the monthly trouble report rate does not exceed two per 100 working access lines per wire center more than three times during a sliding 12-month period.
Detailed Service Quality information is available on the internet at www.puc.state.or.us/Pages/telecom/squality/index.aspx