Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted unanimously to consider proposals to improve service quality requirements for telephone service, and expand service quality requirements to cover Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone, cell phone, and broadband services. Current requirements only apply to traditional landline telephone service provided by local telephone companies. Phone company networks are evolving to use new VoIP technology, many customers are moving to cable VoIP and wireless phone services and broadband is now an essential communications service.
“While these communications services have been essential to modern life, the pandemic deepened our reliance on them and underscored our reliance on them,” said Commissioner Darcie Houck. “This rulemaking seeks to ensure that all Californians receive the minimum level of service quality that allows them access to emergency information and to fully participate in modern life.”
The Utility Reform Network (TURN) strongly supports California PUC efforts to improve service quality requirements and apply them to all essential communications services. Californians depend on reliable communications services, regardless of the technology used to deliver them. Unreliable phone and cell phone service puts lives at risk, and unreliable broadband jeopardizes people’s ability to work, attend school, use remote healthcare, and receive essential information. We applaud the CPUC for launching its proceeding to ensure that all essential communications services are consistently reliable, especially when Californians need them the most.
Referring to a recent CPUC study examining the networks of AT&T and Frontier, Commissioner Houck stated, “The study found that communities in areas with the lowest household income suffered the most from poor service quality resulting from insufficient network investment and maintenance.”
Today’s CPUC action to launch its service quality proceeding paves the way for all Californians to receive reliable communications now and in the future, regardless of technology they use.
Contact: Regina Costa • TURN Telecommunications Policy Director firstname.lastname@example.org • 415 786–8831