Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities and Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
2/17/2020

Chapter 428. Rules Governing Local Exchange Telecommunications Carrier Retail Service Quality

20VAC5-428-10. Applicability; definitions.

A. This chapter is promulgated pursuant to §§ 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, 56-247, 56-249, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia and shall apply to local exchange carriers (LECs) providing local exchange telecommunications services within the Commonwealth of Virginia, except when a signed contract with a business customer provides otherwise. This chapter prescribes the minimum acceptable level of service quality under normal operating conditions. The commission may, after investigation and at its discretion, suspend application of this chapter during force majeure events, which include natural disaster, severe storm, flood, work stoppage, civil unrest, major transportation disruptions, or any other catastrophic events beyond the control of a LEC.

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Automated answering system" means a system where customer calls are received and directed to a live agent or an automated transaction system.

"Automated transaction system" means a system where customer transactions can be completed without the assistance of a live agent, and include the option to reach a live agent before the completion of an automated transaction.

"Central office" means a LEC-operated switching system, including remote switches and associated transmission equipment.

"Commission" means the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

"Customer" means any person, firm, partnership, corporation, municipality, cooperative, organization, or governmental agency that is an end user or the authorized agent of an end user of local exchange telecommunications services under the jurisdiction of the commission.

"Customer call center" means any functional entity that accepts customer calls pertaining to service orders, billing inquiries, repair, and any other related requests.

"Emergency" means a sudden or unexpected occurrence involving a clear and imminent danger demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services.

"Local exchange carrier (LEC)" means a certificated provider of local exchange telecommunications services, excluding LECs subject to Chapter 16 (§ 56-485 et seq.) of Title 56 of the Code of Virginia.

"Local exchange telecommunications services" means local exchange telephone service as defined by § 56-1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Minimum acceptable level of service quality under normal operating conditions" means the minimum level of service that shall be considered by the commission to be reasonably adequate as required by §§ 56-234 and 56-247 of the Code of Virginia.

"Network" means a system of central offices and associated outside plant.

"Network access line (NAL)" means a voice-grade customer dial tone line that provides access to the public telecommunications network.

"Out of service" means a network service condition causing an inability to complete an incoming or outgoing call or any other condition that causes a connected call to be incomprehensible.

"Outside plant" means the network facilities not included in the definition of central office including, but not limited to, copper cable, fiber optic cable, coaxial cable, terminals, pedestals, load coils, or any other equipment normally associated with interoffice, feeder, and distribution facilities up to and including the rate demarcation point.

"Rate demarcation point" means the point at which a LEC's network ends and a customer's wiring or facilities begin.

"Repeat report" means a customer reported trouble that is received by a LEC within 30 days of another trouble report on the same NAL.

"Rolling 30-day average" means a determination of average compliance with the metrics set out in 20VAC5-428-90 B 2 through B 8 during the 30 days that precede the date or dates specified by the commission pursuant to 20VAC5-428-110 B.

"Speed of answer interval (SAI)" means the period of time following the completion of direct dialing, or upon completion of a customer's final selection or response within an automated answering system, and lasting until the call is answered by a live agent or is abandoned by the customer or the LEC. In the case of automated transactions where a customer opts to speak to a live agent, the SAI is the period of time following the customer opting to speak to a live agent until the call is answered by a live agent or is abandoned by the customer or the LEC. A call is considered to have been answered when a live agent is ready to render assistance.

"Staff" means the commission's Division of Communications and associated personnel.

"Trouble" means an impairment of a LEC's network.

"Trouble report" means an initial oral or written notice, including voice mail and email, to any LEC employee or agent of a condition that affects or may affect network service.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-20. Private property restoration.

A LEC, whenever it disturbs private property during the course of construction or maintenance operations, shall, except when otherwise specified or governed by easement or agreement, make every reasonable effort to restore the private property to a condition that is at least as good as that which existed prior to the disturbance once all work is completed.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-30. Availability and retention of records.

A. A LEC shall provide to the commission or staff, upon request, all records, reports, and other information required to determine compliance with this chapter excluding reports relevant to 20VAC-5-428-90, which shall be provided pursuant to 20VAC5-428-90 A.

B. A LEC shall retain any routine business records relevant to this chapter for a minimum of two years.

C. A LEC shall retain customer billing records for a minimum of three years to permit the commission or staff to investigate and resolve billing complaints.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-40. (Reserved.)

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-50. Emergency trouble report response.

A. A LEC shall accept, acknowledge, and record trouble reports of an emergency nature at all times through automated or live means.

B. A LEC shall take immediate action to clear trouble reports of an emergency nature.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-60. Service outage reporting.

A LEC shall inform the staff of a service outage in Virginia by providing all reports required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under 47 CFR Part 4. A LEC shall comply with all provisions of 47 CFR Part 4 related to report content, processing, and delivery. Upon request, a LEC shall provide to the commission or staff additional information regarding service outages not included in FCC reports as necessary to perform their oversight responsibility.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-70. Commission complaints.

A. When the staff informs a LEC of an out-of-service commission complaint, that LEC shall restore the affected service within 24 hours of the report, subject to the customer-caused delay exclusion of 20VAC5-428-90 B 2, unless an extension is granted by the staff.

B. When the staff informs a LEC of a non-out-of-service commission complaint, the LEC shall resolve the complaint within 10 business days of the report, unless an extension is granted by the staff.

C. When the staff informs a LEC of an extended service installation complaint, that LEC shall provision service within five business days of the report, subject to the customer-caused delay, installation of more than five NALs, and telephone number porting exclusions of 20VAC5-428-90 B 4, unless an extension is granted by the staff.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-80. Printed directories.

A. A LEC shall publish or cause to be published its customers' listing information in printed directories and shall distribute or cause to be distributed to its customers such directories at yearly intervals. The listing information of a LEC's customers shall be updated at least yearly, unless otherwise agreed to by the commission or staff.

B. A LEC responsible for publishing a directory shall make every reasonable effort to correct directory errors and to resolve directory disputes in a timely and efficient manner. A LEC responsible for directory publication may be required by the commission to postpone publication depending upon the nature and severity of a complaint. A LEC responsible for publishing a directory includes, but is not limited to, a LEC that publishes directories, causes directories to be published, or provides customer information for inclusion in directories.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-90. Network and customer care service quality and reporting.

A. A LEC subject to a docketed commission investigation of its service quality relating to this section shall file reports as directed by the commission. The reports shall be subject to commission audit.

B. A LEC shall comply with the following performance standards:

1. A LEC shall restore all out-of-service trouble reports within 24 hours, per calendar month, on a statewide basis, for customers stating a medical necessity when restoration is feasible. As used in this subdivision, "feasible" means service can be restored unless there exists a condition beyond the control of a LEC.

2. A LEC shall restore no less than 80% of out-of-service trouble reports within 48 hours, and no less than 95% within 96 hours, per calendar month, on a statewide basis, excluding Sundays and LEC-recognized holidays for business customers, and excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and LEC-recognized holidays that do not result in three consecutive excluded days for residential customers. A LEC subject to performance reporting pursuant to subsection A of this section shall calculate its results by dividing the number of out-of-service customer trouble reports restored within 48 hours and 96 hours respectively in the given month by the number of out-of-service customer trouble reports restored in the given month. The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to produce the result as a percentage. A LEC may exclude customer-caused delays, and extended intervals that are explicitly accepted or requested by customers. Upon request by the commission's staff, a LEC shall submit for approval a satisfactory description of (i) the criteria the LEC will apply to determine such explicit acceptance or request by a customer, and (ii) the method the LEC will employ to record such explicit acceptance or request.

3. A LEC shall answer calls to its repair customer call centers with an average SAI of no greater than 60 seconds and shall answer calls to its customer call centers with an average SAI of no greater than 180 seconds, per calendar month, on a statewide basis. A LEC subject to performance reporting pursuant to subsection A of this section shall calculate its results by dividing the cumulative SAI in seconds in the given month by the number of calls answered by a live agent in the given month. A LEC shall exclude from its calculation customer-initiated web transactions and customer-initiated automated transactions.

4. A LEC shall complete no less than 90% of installation service orders within five business days of a customer's request, per calendar month, on a statewide basis. A LEC subject to performance reporting pursuant to subsection A of this section shall calculate its results by dividing the number of installation service orders completed within five days in the given month by the number of service orders completed in the given month. The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to produce the result as a percentage. A LEC may exclude customer-caused installation delays, service orders for the installation of more than five NALs at one customer location, and extended intervals that are explicitly accepted or requested by customers. Upon request by the commission's staff, a LEC shall submit for approval a satisfactory description of the criteria the LEC will apply to determine such explicit acceptance or request by a customer and the method the LEC will employ to record such explicit acceptance or request. A LEC may exclude installation service orders that involve porting telephone numbers, the delivery of which has been delayed by another LEC, or any other communications provider.

5. A LEC shall meet no less than 90% of installation and repair commitments, per calendar month, on a statewide basis. A LEC subject to performance reporting pursuant to subsection A of this section shall calculate its results by dividing the number of installation and repair commitments met in the given month by the number of commitments made in the given month. The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to produce the result as a percentage.

6. A LEC shall not exceed a 16% repeat report rate, per calendar month, on a statewide basis. A LEC subject to performance reporting pursuant to subsection A of this section shall calculate its results by dividing the number of repeat reports in the given month by the number of trouble reports cleared in the given month. The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to produce the result as a percentage.

7. A LEC shall not exceed a 0.35% central office trouble report rate, per calendar month, on a statewide basis. A LEC subject to performance reporting pursuant to subsection A of this section shall calculate its results by dividing the number of central office related trouble reports in the given month by the number of NALs at the end of the given month. The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to produce the result as a percentage.

8. A LEC shall not exceed a 3.0% outside plant trouble report rate, per calendar month, on a statewide basis. A LEC subject to performance reporting pursuant to subsection A of this section shall calculate its results by dividing the number of outside plant related trouble reports in the given month by the number of NALs at the end of the given month. The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to produce the result as a percentage.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-100. Generally inadequate service.

A LEC shall, at the direction of the commission following notice and an opportunity for hearing, address any concern for inadequate service quality not specifically addressed in this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-110. Enforcement and sanctions.

A. For purposes of enforcing all of the provisions of this chapter, including 20VAC5-428-90 B 1 but excluding the remainder of 20VAC5-428-90, the commission may, upon motion, and after opportunity for written response from the LEC and an opportunity for hearing, in accordance with 5VAC5-20-90 levy one or more of the penalties and sanctions authorized by §§ 12.1-13, 12.1-33, and 56-483 of the Code of Virginia for violations of provisions of this chapter.

B. For purposes of enforcing 20VAC5-428-90, other than 20VAC5-428-90 B 1, the commission may, upon motion, and after opportunity for written response from the LEC in accordance with 5VAC5-20-90, issue such order or orders as it deems necessary to notify a LEC of the LEC's obligation and need to satisfy the provisions of this chapter. If a LEC fails to comply with the directives of such order, the commission may, following notice and an opportunity for hearing in accordance with 5VAC5-20-90, levy one or more of the penalties and sanctions authorized by §§ 12.1-13, 12.1-33, and 56-483 of the Code of Virginia for violations of such order. For purposes of enforcement under this section, the commission may, if it deems necessary, further prospectively order a LEC to meet a 20VAC5-428-90 standard each day, based on a rolling 30-day average, notwithstanding that the standard is based on a calendar month under 20VAC5-428-90 and each day that the LEC does not meet such standard may constitute a separate violation of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-120. Commission authority.

The commission may, at its discretion, waive or grant exceptions to any provision of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.

20VAC5-428-130. Sunset provision.

This chapter may sunset on December 31, 2012, if, following a proceeding, the commission determines that this chapter or other regulations are no longer necessary to ensure reasonably adequate service.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13, 56-35, 56-36, 56-234, 56-234.4, 56-246, and 56-479 of the Code of Virginia of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2009.



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