Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 1217 (pcs) Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes. [Placed on Calendar Senate] ...

S. 1217 (pcs) Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes. [Placed on Calendar Senate] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1216

     To improve wireless telephone service, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                              June 9, 2003

Mr. Schumer (for himself and Mrs. Boxer) introduced the following bill; 
    which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, 
                      Science, and Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
     To improve wireless telephone service, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Cell Phone Users Bill of Rights''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

    (a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Consumers rely increasingly on wireless telephone 
        service for personal, business, and emergency communications. 
        There are currently more than 137,000,000 wireless telephone 
        users in the United States. This is more than a 121 percent 
        increase in the number of such users in the past five years 
        alone. In the future this number is projected to grow as 
        consumers switch from wireline to wireless telephone service 
        for their primary telephone service.
            (2) The lack of wireless telephone number portability--the 
        capacity of a consumer to retain a wireless telephone number 
        when changing wireless telephone service providers--is a 
        barrier to competition in the market for wireless telephone 
        service. The lack of number portability acts as a disincentive 
        for wireless telephone service providers to improve the quality 
        of their wireless telephone service.
            (3) The lack of wireless telephone number portability 
        imposes significant costs on individual consumers and 
        businesses looking to change wireless telephone service 
        providers. More than half of business wireless telephone users 
        report that number portability would make them more likely to 
        change wireless telephone service providers.
            (4) Consumers cannot easily compare offers for wireless 
        telephone service because information on terms, pricing, and 
        service plans for such service is not presented in a uniform 
        manner. Current wireless telephone service contracts do not 
        clearly display the information consumers need to make an 
        informed choice regarding a wireless telephone service 
        contract. Consumers may not be aware of the deficiencies in 
        wireless telephone service quality until after they have signed 
        a contract, and exorbitant early termination penalties 
        effectively lock consumers into undesired, long-term contracts.
    (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are--
            (1) to improve quality of wireless telephone service; and
            (2) to promote consumer choice in the wireless telephone 
        service market.

SEC. 3. TELEPHONE NUMBER PORTABILITY FOR WIRELESS TELEPHONE SERVICE.

    (a) Requirement in Largest Markets.--
            (1) Requirement.--Commencing not later than six months 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act, or November 24, 
        2003, whichever is earlier, the Federal Communications 
        Commission shall require each wireless telephone service 
        provider offering service in one of the 100 largest 
        Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), as defined by the Bureau 
        of the Census, to provide consumers with the option to port 
        telephone numbers between wireless telephone service providers 
        by implementing wireless telephone number portability 
        throughout the networks of wireless telephone service providers 
        in each of such 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
            (2) Requirement not dependent on other carrier request.--
        The requirement in paragraph (1) shall be implemented in each 
        Metropolitan Statistical Area referred to in that paragraph 
        without regard to the receipt of a request from any 
        telecommunications carrier in such Metropolitan Statistical 
        Area for wireless telephone number portability.
    (b) Other Markets.--
            (1) Requirement.--Commencing not later than 18 months after 
        the date of the enactment of this Act, or November 24, 2004, 
        whichever is earlier, the Commission shall require each 
        wireless telephone service provider in a Metropolitan 
        Statistical Area described in paragraph (2) to provide 
        customers with the option to port their telephone number 
        between wireless telephone service providers by implementing 
        wireless telephone number portability throughout the networks 
        of wireless telephone service providers in such Metropolitan 
        Statistical Area.
            (2) Covered metropolitan statistical areas.--A Metropolitan 
        Statistical Area described in this paragraph is a Metropolitan 
        Statistical Area not covered by subsection (a) in which three 
        or more wireless telephone services providers provide wireless 
        telephone service.

SEC. 4. DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR PLANS AND CONTRACTS FOR WIRELESS 
              TELEPHONE SERVICE.

    (a) Disclosure Requirements.--The Federal Communications Commission 
shall require that any publication, including publication on the 
Internet, of a wireless telephone service provider of the terms of a 
plan or contract for wireless telephone service shall set forth, in a 
plain and conspicuous manner, the following information:
            (1) Charges.--Information on charges, including calling-
        from area, monthly base charge, per-minute charges for minutes 
        not included in the plan, and the method of calculating minutes 
        charged.
            (2) Minutes.--Information on minutes included in plan, 
        including weekday/daytime, nights/weekends, long-distance, 
        roaming, incoming, and directory assistance.
            (3) Contract terms.--Information on plan or contract terms, 
        including length of contract, early or other termination fees, 
trial periods, and start-up fees.
            (4) Taxes and surcharges.--
                    (A) Taxes.--Information on taxes to be collected by 
                the carrier for, and paid to, a State, local, or other 
                governmental agency.
                    (B) Surcharges.--Information on surcharges imposed 
                by the carrier for the costs of compliance with 
                regulations or for other purposes.
            (5) Other information.--Any other information that the 
        Commission considers appropriate to ensure that consumers of 
        wireless telephone service are fully informed of the terms of 
        the plan or contract.
    (b) Format.--Not later than six months after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Commission shall prescribe regulations 
requiring that the information required by subsection (a) be published 
by wireless telephone service providers in a tabular format, in a clear 
and uniform manner, and in at least 10 point font.

SEC. 5. PROVISION OF INFORMATION ON WIRELESS TELEPHONE SERVICE COVERAGE 
              AND QUALITY TO CONSUMERS.

    (a) Service Area Maps.--
            (1) Requirement.--Each wireless telephone service provider 
        shall make available a map showing the wireless telephone 
        service area of such provider. Each such map shall contain the 
        maximum practicable level of granularity. Each such map shall 
        be updated not less often than quarterly.
            (2) Times of provision.--A map of the service area of a 
        wireless telephone service shall be provided to a consumer--
                    (A) upon the request of the consumer;
                    (B) whenever a plan or contract for the service is 
                entered into; and
                    (C) at such other times as the Federal 
                Communications Commission shall provide.
            (3) Electronic availability.--Each map of a service area 
        under paragraph (1) shall be available--
                    (A) on the Internet web site of the provider 
                concerned; and
                    (B) on the Internet web site of the Commission.
    (b) Service Quality.--
            (1) Monitoring.--The Commission shall monitor the quality 
        of wireless telephone service provided in the United States by 
        requiring semiannual reports by wireless telephone service 
        providers on the following:
                    (A) Dropped calls.
                    (B) Blocked calls.
                    (C) Known coverage gaps (including average signal 
                strength) or dead zones.
                    (D) Predicted street level signal strength.
                    (E) Any other matters the Commission considers 
                appropriate.
            (2) Communication with public.--In monitoring the quality 
        of wireless telephone service under paragraph (1), the 
        Commission shall establish a toll-free telephone number 
        (commonly referred to as an ``800'' number) and an Internet web 
        site at which members of the public can submit to the 
        Commission their comments and views on the quality of such 
        service.
            (3) Publication.--The Commission shall make available to 
        wireless telephone service providers and the public on a 
        semiannual basis information on the quality of wireless 
        telephone service provided in the United States.

SEC. 6. ENFORCEMENT.

    (a) Enforcement by FCC.--
            (1) In general.--The Federal Communications Commission 
        shall have the power and authority to enforce the provisions of 
        this Act as if such provisions were provisions of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.).
            (2) Penalties.--Penalties authorized by title V of the 
        Communications Act of 1947 (47 U.S.C. 501 et seq.) may be 
        imposed under this subsection for a violation of a provision of 
        this Act.
    (b) Enforcement by States.--
            (1) Authority.--The attorney general of a State, or the 
        public utility commission of a State if authorized by the laws 
        of the State, may bring a civil action on behalf of the 
        residents of the State in a district court of the United States 
        of appropriate jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this 
        Act.
            (2) Penalties.--Penalties authorized by title V of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 for a violation of a provision of 
        that Act may be imposed in a civil action under this subsection 
        for a violation of a provision of this Act.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Wireless telephone service.--The term ``wireless 
        telephone service'' means any form of wireless telephone 
        service, including cellular telephone service, broadband 
        Personal Communication Service (PCS) telephone service, Covered 
        Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) service, and any successor 
        service to such service (including so-called next generation or 
        third generations service).
            (2) Wireless telephone service provider.--The term 
        ``wireless telephone service provider'' means a 
        telecommunications carrier that provides wireless telephone 
        service.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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