SBC Ameritech and IURC Deliver Benefits to Hoosiers Through Opportunity Indiana; Company Dramatically Improves Service
SBC Ameritech Hopes to Build on Landmark Year By Gaining Approval to Compete in Long-Distance Market
Indianapolis, Indiana, February 6, 2002
The one-year anniversary of a visionary plan approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) is fast approaching. Under this plan - called Opportunity Indiana - SBC Ameritech has delivered on its promises to reduce rates, deploy high-speed Internet access, make significant infrastructure investments and provide reliable and high-quality service.
"We applaud the IURC for its foresight in approving the Opportunity Indiana plan last year," said George S. Fleetwood, president of SBC Ameritech Indiana. "That plan has produced real benefits for our customers and all citizens of the state. The more than $1 million we spend every working day in capital investments in Indiana is instrumental to serving our customers and supporting the state's economic development needs."
Customers Benefit from Opportunity Indiana
Under Opportunity Indiana, SBC Ameritech has issued $55 million in credits and rate reductions. The company has also invested nearly $300 million in technology infrastructure improvements to offer a greater array of services to consumers, including high-speed data.
Those investments helped pave the way for the company to bring its SBC DSL Internet Access Service to more Hoosiers. The service is now available in areas of: Acton, Anderson, Bloomington, Brownsburg, Carmel, Columbus, Crown Point, Danville, Dyer, East Chicago, Evansville, Fishers, Greenwood, Hammond, Indianapolis, Merrillville, Michigan City, Mishawaka, Muncie, New Palestine, Noblesville, Oaklandon, Plainfield, Schererville, South Bend, West Newton, Zionsville and more.
"The availability of high-speed Internet access is a key factor in the growth of many small businesses throughout Indiana," said Hardie Blake, president of Bethel Business Machines. "SBC Ameritech made good progress in getting communities in Indiana connected in 2001."
SBC Ameritech Indiana Improves
Dramatic improvements in service quality performance also made 2001 a landmark year for SBC Ameritech Indiana customers. In every quarter of last year, the company exceeded the Opportunity Indiana service quality standards.
"The substantial improvements we made last year, both on the retail and wholesale sides of our business, allowed us to deliver the best service our customers have seen since 1984," said Fleetwood. "The demand for our products and services remains strong and we're doing a much better job of meeting customers' requests."
The company continues to invest in its employees - the backbone of the service quality improvement. Across all five of the SBC Ameritech states, employees were given approximately 400,000 days of training in 2001.
The company exceeded the standard for restoring service in Indiana within 24 hours -- doing so nearly 91 percent of the time, an improvement over 2000, when the average for the year was roughly 74 percent.
Across Indiana in 2001, the company installed service within five days, or on a later date if requested by the customer, 95.6 percent of the time (versus 88.8 percent in 2000). Results in this category also exceeded the standard of 90 percent.
The company's improvement is further reflected in the significant decline of complaints to the IURC. In 2001, complaints dropped roughly 31 percent from their 2000 levels.
The company also reduced the wait time for customers contacting its repair service call centers. The 2001 average was 32-seconds compared to a 54-second average during 2000. Results here exceeded the standard of 60-seconds.
"Our team made exceptional strides to serve our customers in 2001," said Fleetwood. "The commitment to customers has never been stronger, and we remain focused on continued improvements."
Plans for a Brighter Future
"Opportunity Indiana is good for the state, our customers and the company," said Fleetwood. "Our hope is that similar, mutually-beneficial initiatives will be considered and acted upon this year in order to bring even more benefits to Hoosiers."
Fleetwood cited two examples of other "win-win" initiatives: gaining approval for his company to enter the long-distance business and rejecting AT&T's proposal to structurally separate SBC Ameritech Indiana.
"Structural separation must be rejected; it will lead to rate increases and lost jobs," Fleetwood said. "In contrast, allowing SBC Ameritech into the long distance business will go a long way toward making competition even more vibrant in the state."
SBC Communications Inc. (www.sbc.com) is a global communications leader. Through its subsidiaries' trusted brands - Southwestern Bell, Ameritech, Pacific Bell, Nevada Bell, SNET and Sterling Commerce - and world-class network, SBC and its affiliated companies provide a full range of voice, data, networking and e-business services, including local and long-distance voice, high-speed Internet access and data transport, voice and data network integration, software and process integration, Web site and application hosting, e-marketplace development, paging and messaging, as well as cable and satellite television, and directory advertising and publishing. In the United States, the company currently has 61.3 million access lines and is undertaking a national expansion program under SBC Telecom that will bring SBC service to new U.S. markets. SBC has a 60 percent equity interest in Cingular Wireless, its joint venture with BellSouth, which serves more than 20 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC has telecommunications investments in 28 countries and has annual revenues that rank it among the largest Fortune 500 companies.