Ask the Telecom Pro
CPNI and 3rd Party Carrier Access Authorization Letters
Q: What is CPNI and how does it affect me as a customer?
A: CPNI stands for Customer Proprietary Network Information and it includes data such as service type, service address, rates and how services are used. This information is captured and used by telecommunications carriers to deliver service and to market services directly and through affiliated third parties to its customers. Customers may opt out of CPNI according to individual carrier identified methods widely available on their websites. CPNI laws also enable customers to require carriers to disclose CPNI data to any party the customer designated, which may prove useful when working with consultants and third parties that require information.
Q: My carrier rejected a letter of authorization and refuses to work with my telecom consultant. What can I do?
A: Letters of authorization and letters of agency allow third parties to access carrier information and make service inquires on behalf of a customer. They may also allow third parties to place orders, make account changes or perform other designated actions on the customer’s behalf. Carriers may have specific forms or accept customer-submitted forms, but if the carrier is rejecting the concept of a letter of authorization altogether, contact the carrier’s executive complaints department immediately to seek resolution. If that escalation fails to deliver desired results, then filing a complaint with the FCC may be necessary.
Timothy C. Colwell is a telecom management industry thought leader exploring the impact of technology as a business accelerator and social capital enabler.