Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
302 West Washington Street, Room 306
Indianapolis Indiana 46204
Today the IURC approved the alternative regulatory plan for Ameritech, known as Opportunity Indiana 2000. The order signed by the Commissioners contains clarifications and adjustments to protect customers.
In Cause Nos. 40785-S1, 40849, and 41058 the settlement agreement reached between Ameritech, the Intellinet Commission, Indiana Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor and A T &T is the foundation for this order. The Commission applauds the efforts of all parties in this complex case. There are a number of elements in the agreement that are beneficial to Ameritech customers in Indiana, and the Commission believes its clarifications enhance the agreement, as it relates to consumer protection and telephone competition.
Maintaining quality service is of key importance not only to customers of Ameritech Indiana but also to the IURC. Today’s order establishes quarterly service quality reviews and assesses penalties in a matter of weeks rather than months in the event that any of the service quality standards are not met.
It also clarifies the penalty structure in the event customer service problems are not addressed in a timely way. Both set $30 million as the maximum amount the utility can be fined annually.
The clarifications mean Hoosiers are protected from the poor service they experienced from Ameritech last year and are covered if service falters again. The agreement reduces and caps prices, requires deployment of broadband, provides funding for education and funding for improvements in infrastructure in Indiana.
The clarifications also address infrastructure investments that won’t be completed before the settlement expires December 1, 2003, and returns the company to full Commission oversight in the event that a new alternative regulatory agreement is not reached by then.
A part of the agreement the Commission felt limited competition from other carriers in the Ameritech territory was also adjusted.
Nothing in the agreement prevents the Commission from fulfilling its statutory obligations and carrying out any mandates from the Federal Telecommunications Act. The regulatory framework is not substantially different than the framework established in the first alternative regulatory plan approved in 1994.
Consumer benefits in the agreement include:
There are minor rate reductions in the flat rate for residential customers, and a more significant cut in the flat rate for multi-line business customers and single line business customers through Dec. 2003.
Service quality standards and penalties up to $30 million annually for service quality violations, plus individual customer credits for missed installation commitments, missed repair commitments and out-of-service greater than 24-hours.
Ongoing Commission oversight of service quality through monthly service quality reports and quarterly service quality meetings with the Commission Staff and the OUCC. The Commission has enforcement authority, including penalties of up to $3 million per violation.
A $20 million credit for residential customers in the form of monthly credits.
Residents and businesses with single line BLS service will be allowed two free calls to directory assistance each month through December 31, 2003.
Ameritech agrees to make 578-million dollars in infrastructure investments and will provide the OUCC, IURC, and Intellinet Commission with a written report of the investments 30-days after the agreement is signed. Then, for the life of the agreement Ameritech Indiana will provide written monthly reports on infrastructure investments.
Ameritech Indiana will provide the infrastructure to provide xDSL and ADSL to certain wire centers through its subsidiary AADS. Asymetric Digital Subscriber Lines allow customers to use both a voice and high-speed data line over the same pair of wires.
Ameritech Indiana will continue to provide $5 million annually to assist elementary and secondary schools, public libraries and rural health care providers in the use of broadband and digital technology.