Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/27/1993 02:55 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATOR KELLY announced HB 54 (TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION) to be up for consideration. REPRESENTATIVE KAY BROWN said there was a need to pass this legislation so that the caller I.D. service could be provided without charge to the customer for both blocking the line on a per call and per line basis. She said the bill was requested by the people in the domestic violence community. It is also of concern to doctors, law enforcement, and other professionals, who for various reasons, may not want their number divulged. REPRESENTATIVE BROWN said this is mainly a service for the use of telemarketing. She thinks it reasonable that people who don't want to participate can have their privacy protected without having to pay extra for not having the service. TOM ROY, Executive Director, Alaska Telephone Association, said that the telephone industry stands in the forefront of privacy protection. He said they wouldn't allow any entity to suffer unduly from any service they provide them. TAPE 93-30, SIDE B Number 580 He asked if every new service or feature would be subject to legislative treatment the way this one has, before the telephone industry can even propose delivery. He said they also have to answer to the APUC. MR. ROY said a recent survey conducted by the Anchorage Telephone Utilities said 80.3 percent of their customers believed they had the right to view the telephone number of the caller before answering the phone. If this bill does move forward, the telephone utilities have no problem with blocking on a per call basis or per line blocking. They asked, however, to insert the word "initial" after the "without" on line 7. He explained that experience in other states has taught them that people move in and out of line blocking and there is an administrative cost to allowing frequent movement which they would like to charge for. They would like to be able to charge a standard service fee for line blocking the second and third time around. Number 532 SENATOR SALO asked if they couldn't charge a fee for opting back into the service after you had opted out. MR. ROY said they would like to charge for the second and third times around. SENATOR RIEGER asked why there is so much movement in and out of line blocking. MR. ROY said people who have their lines blocked don't realize how much trouble it is and change their minds. SENATOR LINCOLN asked how blocking was reversed. MR. ROY explained a technician would have to go to the "central office" and reprogram that number. It would take about 20 minutes. SENATOR SHARP asked if he knew of any other place that had statutory regulation of service offered by a utility instead of going to the APUC. MR. ROY said he didn't know of any, although there probably was. He added that before they offer caller I.D., they have to go through a tariffing process that will last at least 90 days. If the APUC does their job well, they will have to prove every facet of that tariff. The public has ample opportunity during those times to have all the input they want. SENATOR SALO asked if people could testify to the APUC that Alaska doesn't want the service at all. He answered yes. SENATOR SALO asked what the charge was going to be. MR. ROY said it would be an average of $4.50 per month to $6.95 per month. Number 392 CINDY SMITH, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, said that 13 states offer free per line call blocking. About five states have regulated by statute the introduction of caller I.D. primarily because it is such a major change in the type of service that you get from the phone company and the privacy issues that result from it. She said the market is very small for this service and seems to be commercial. The Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault relies very heavily on volunteers and phone contact with victims. They would need to be able to block their number so as not to endanger a client. They support the bill and think it is real important for the safety of women and children. SENATOR SALO said that people should not have to pay for not having a service. SENATOR SHARP said he thought the APUC should handle the whole issue. He is against statutory regulations for any services. SENATOR RIEGER said he didn't see how the bill would hurt anything. SENATOR LINCOLN said she supported the bill without "initial" in it. Number 292 SENATOR SHARP asked if the APUC has this scheduled. MR. ROY said the APUC is accepting comments on it, but that is all they have done. SENATOR KELLY said he wanted assurance from Representative Brown that she wouldn't allow this to turn into a phone wars bill before going further with it.