Has your phone been out? (press release)

How to report telephone outages to the CPUC


MENDOCINO Co. 2/1/2017 — Here is some information about how to report telephone outages, courtesy of the Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County. The BBA works to ensure affordable, reliable internet and telephone access for Mendo residents. We at the online Mendocino Voice thought we’d help out and pass along a letter from BBA Chair, Trish Steel, about how to let the California Public Utilities Commission know about problems you may have with your phone. There are also links to detailed information about an ongoing proceeding about rural call completion. Here is Steel’s letter:

Hey everyone,

With all the storms that have happened, and are still to come, this is important.  Please bookmark this link for future reference, and share.  This takes you to a very easy CPUC survey to report if you have had any type of phone outage recently (landline, VoIP, mobile).


Your information can help right now in a proceeding that is before the CPUC, and which Mendocino County is a party to.  The proceeding moves into a “Phase 2” in which public safety officials will participate in a Working Group to discuss outages and when outages should be reportable to them.  For meaningful discussions, we first need information.  When phones are out, our public safety officials often don’t even know.  This is not related to reporting your problem to your phone company; this is in separate from that, and is very important.

The proceeding hosts an easy 8-question on-line survey.  For a phone outage, you will likely answer most questions “no” until question #7, which then asks about experiences with loss of dial tone.  You are encouraged to provide details, such as type of phone (landline, mobile, VoIP), when the outage occurred, and for how long the phone was out.

Phase 1 of the proceeding resulted in a significant victory for rural counties; we can continue to make progress in the Phase 2 portion because our public safety officials will finally have a seat at the table for discussions on reporting obligations.  This is important because if people can’t call 911, emergency services can’t reach them and lives are literally at stake. Our officials need to know when services are out.   With data, the chances for the PUC to make decisions that benefit our counties, and not just the telephone companies, is much greater.

If you see telephone conditions which you think are unsafe (low hanging wires, wires on the ground, leaning or bent poles, overloaded poles, one pole holding up another, frayed or broken cables, lines attached to trees) you are encouraged to take a photo with the date, time and location, and provide this information in question #5.   The CPUC will get in touch with you in how to submit the photos to them.

I know that people are tired of all the surveys -there have been a lot in the past.   However, data from these past surveys has led to progress, and we must continue to press for reliable service and reporting to public safety officials.  We can’t do that without knowing what is going on and that means your data.

If you have experienced a telephone outage in the last year, please take this very short survey, and share this link with others as well.

Thank you!


PS: for more information about this proceeding, and Mendocino’s participation in it, I have posted information on our website  (scroll down to the “Public Participation Hearing on July 15th and see all the links below that)


Trish Steel


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