The commission has formally adopted new rules governing telecommunications companies. This concludes an almost four-year review and update of telecommunications rules launched in response to Governor Locke's Executive Order 97-02. In addition to reviewing the rules for content, effectiveness, need and clarity, the UTC changed the rules to reflect the significant change in law in the federal Telecom Act of 1996.
In general these rules are now more consistent with a competitive telecommunications market. The new rules:
1) Remove provisions that were based on a monopoly industry structure and apply standards more uniformly to all competitors,
2) Eliminate outdated or unneeded restrictions on telephone company operations, and
3) Strengthen and clarify consumers' rights and protections.
The commission held at least 19 stakeholder workshops. We received written comments and suggestions from telecommunications companies and associations, state agencies, and many consumer groups, including several consumer groups that had never before participated in our proceedings. The rules do not go into effect until July 1, 2003 to give regulated companies time to comply with the rule changes.
UTC adopts telephone customer privacy rules
On November 7, 2002, the UTC adopted the nation’s strongest rules protecting telephone customer privacy. The new rules prohibit telephone companies from selling a Washington customer’s telephone records or using the information to market unrelated services, unless the customer has given permission. They took effect January 1, 2003 but were stayed when a federal judge granted Verizon a temporary injunction. More information on this ruleand its status is available at: www.wutc.wa.gov/privacy
New company-to-company deposit rule adopted
On October 15, 2002, the UTC adopted a new rule on deposit requirements when one telecommunications company is buying services from another telecommunications company. The new rule, WAC 480-120-125, gives companies more flexibility about whether to require deposits, how to determine whether a company has satisfactory credit, and the size and type of deposit or other security arrangement. The rule replaces WAC 480-120-057, which was repealed. The new rule takes effect in mid-November.
Staff Contact: Bob Shirley – firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-664-1292.
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