Saying that AT&T and Verizon have failed to consistently provide quality phone service, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has demanded that the companies pay for a study of their network infrastructure.
The decision, issued August 31, came after objections from both phone companies. CPUC’s staff is now required to initiate the investigation and “report on progress towards its completion within six months.” Within three months, CPUC staff have to provide a status report on collecting funding for the study from AT&T and Verizon. Though the companies must pay for the study, it will be conducted by an independent consultant under contract with the commission.

The study is years in the making. CPUC staff recommended an investigation after widespread outages caused by winter storms in December 2010 and January 2011, and penalties for companies that fail to meet standards. In February 2013, the CPUC found that a “study of carrier network infrastructure, facilities, policies, and practices” was necessary to gauge the condition of carrier infrastructure and facilities and ensure that the needs of customers and public safety are being met.
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