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PUC's Proposed Decision in California ISDN case
Administrative Law Judge Kim Malcolm of the California Public Utilities
Commission released her Proposed Decision yesterday regarding Pacific
Bell's application to raise ISDN rates. This is not the final order of the
Commission, but rather a rough draft for the parties to comment on and try
to change her mind. The parties have 20 days to submit comments and then
an additional 5 days to submit replies to the comments of the other
parties. After reading the comments, the ALJ may amend the proposed
decision and then she submits it to the Commissioners for approval. It
might get approved as-is or revised by the Commissioners, and the final
decision could take months.
Pacific Bell asked for an increase of $8.00 per month per BRI line. The
proposed decision does not set a new rate yet. It asks the company to
modify its cost studies "slightly" in specific ways and re-submit them, and
then a monthly rate will be set. I suspect that the modifications, after
scrutiny by the parties, will lead to a reduction from the $8.00 that is
far more than "slight."
Currently California Pacific Bell residential ISDN customers get unlimited
usage on evenings and weekends. Pacific Bell asked to limit this to free
usage for only the first 20 hours and then per-minute charges after that.
The proposed decision gives 200 free hours instead.
Pacific Bell tried to sneak in limitations on most ISDN features so that
they would be available to business customers only. The proposed decision
allows residential customers to purchase the same features as business
customers and at the same rates.
The proposed decision orders specific timelines for installation and repair
of ISDN lines with monetary penalties to the customer if these are not met.
The proposed decision orders Pacific Bell to make ISDN available to
resellers with a 17% discount.
The installation charge for the ISDN feature will continue to be $125, but
residential customers will be allowed to pay this in 6 monthly
installments. This $125 is for the conversion of an existing line to ISDN.
If the customer orders a brand new ISDN line the installation fee is
$34.75 for the line plus $125 for ISDN. Pacific Bell used to waive the
$125 if the customer kept the line for 2 years, but that waiver was for 2
years only and expired several months ago, independently of this case.
Pacific Bell currently charges $4.00 extra per month for a package of ISDN
voice features including Hold, Consultation Hold, Three-way Conferencing,
and Call Transfer. These would be free under the new rates.
There will also be small discounts for customers who order large numbers of
ISDN lines and keep them for long periods of time.
I scanned and OCR'ed a copy of the complete proposed decision that I picked
up yesterday hot off the press. I proofread this a little bit and fixed
the really obvious errors, but be warned that there are probably still a
lot of scanning errors mixed in. I will email this today to anyone who
wants it, but if you wait until tomorrow you won't get it until Monday
because I will be out of town for several days.