US WEST Communications is scheduled to introduce Caller ID service in Boise next week, but the Idaho Public Utilities Commission doesn't like the company's proposed requirements for customers seeking line-blocking service to prevent identification to the party being called.
Caller ID automatically discloses the calling party's name and telephone number to the called party before the telephone is answered. The name and number appear on a display device.The company is required to offer a line-blocking service preventing such disclosures to customers meeting certain guidelines. But the commission is not happy with the current guidelines which require those seeking line blocking to show proof of possible danger or possible injury before the company grants the service.
"If there is a likelihood that disclosure of a customer's name and phone number via Caller ID may harm that customer, US WEST should provide that customer with line blocking," the commission said in an order issued this week. "The company's policy regarding line blocking currently requires proof of possible danger or personal injury to the calling party. We make a preliminary finding that US WEST should liberalize its line-blocking policy in this regard and should work with staff to arrive at a reasonable standard for the provision of line blocking."
The commission restated its decision at both a Dec. 18 and a Feb. 7 meeting to approve a six-month trial of Caller ID while investigating whether and to what extent it has jurisdiction over the service, per-call blocking and line blocking. The commission has asked interested parties to file written legal briefs by Feb. 15.
The Boise trial, set to begin Feb. 18, will be the first in the nation where both the customer's name and number will be displayed. Unlike those in many other states where Caller ID is offered, Boise customers will be able to prevent the display by touching *67 on touch tone phones and 1167 on rotary phones before placing local calls.
As of Feb. 7, only two customers had been granted line blocking. Other requests were under consideration by the company, officials said.
Thus far, US WEST has not proposed Caller ID service in Utah.