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The New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection actively represents the interests of customers of regulated landline telephone service before the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC). The Division's efforts help ensure that the price of personal telephone service is reasonable, relevant consumer protections are followed and providers maintain quality service.

With increased competition in the telecommunications industry, consumers now have alternatives to traditional landline telephone service. The Division offers information regarding these new services for consumers. We also advocate on behalf of consumers regarding State regulation of cable television service and encourage providers of wireless telephone service to offer reliable, high quality and cost effective service.

Formal filings by the Division regarding telecommunication services can be accessed from the links below. 

Cable Television

Testimony on Rules and Regulations Concerning Cable Television Service
In testimony delivered July 24, 2003, the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection demonstrates that certain proposed changes to rules and regulations governing cable television service would not serve consumer interests and should be rejected by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC). In particular, the Division explains why: (1) the current requirement under which cable operators must automatically credit customers for service outages of more than four hours, some part of which occurred in prime time, should be maintained; (2) current requirements governing channel capacity for public, educational and governmental access channels should be maintained; and (3) existing service quality reporting rules should continue.

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Frontier Telephone of Rochester

Statement in Support of Proposal Regarding Service Quality
In this statement dated August 6, 2008, the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection explains that it supports a Joint Proposal that it helped negotiate. It provides a new incentive for Frontier Telephone of Rochester and its affiliates in New York State including those operating under the Citizens Communications name, to offer high quality telephone service on its more than 670,000 access lines in New York, thereby enhancing public health, safety and welfare. The Agreement also streamlines and eliminates regulations that are no longer necessary or appropriate.

Comments Regarding Open Market Plan
Frontier of Rochester requested permission to terminate remaining provisions of their regulatory plan applicable to the Company since 1995. In comments dated July 11, 2005, the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection explains that the Company’s request is premature, would provide no apparent benefit to consumers and would eliminate an incentive for Frontier to provide high quality telephone service to all its customers.

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Comments on Verizon Plan To Improve Service Quality
Verizon has repeatedly been unable to meet service standards for the timeliness of repairs in many communities in and around New York City. The New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection informed the New York State Public Service Commission of this chronic poor performance in November 2006. Shortly thereafter, the PSC directed the Company to submit a plan to improve its repair performance. On April 16, 2007, the Division submitted these written comments identifying our concerns with Verizon's plan. We provide several recommendations to help ensure that Verizon meets applicable service quality standards in a timely fashion and is held accountable for any failure to do so.

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Telecommunications Policy Issues

Telephone Service Quality Initial Comments
In comments submitted August 25, 2006, the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection addresses recommendations by Staff of the Department of Public Service to revise service quality and consumer protection regulations applicable to telephone service providers. We explain that several of those recommendations should not be adopted because emerging competition does not obviate the need for regulation, particularly where public health, safety and welfare may be affected.

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Wireless Telephone   

Testimony on Consumer Issues Regarding Wireless Telephone Service
On March 13, 2006, the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection delivered testimony to the New York State Assembly's Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection as well as its Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. The Division identifies some of the consumer benefits from wireless telephone service, as well as some of the continuing consumer concerns. This testimony provides an overview of the consumer complaints received by the Division and other entities, and highlights the key areas in which additional consumer protections are required.

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Last Modified: April 28, 2011