August 02, 2017
Telecom, Broadband & Media , Telecommunications Alerts

California Public Utilities Commission Meeting - July 13, 2017

On July 13, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission ("CPUC") held its most recent agenda meeting.  The meeting addressed several telecommunications items:  (1) approval of the California telecommunications public purpose programs’ estimated budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year; (2) approval of funding for Race Communication’s Gigafy Phelan Underserved Broadband CASF project; (3) approval of a decision dismissing complaint of J. Boggeri & Co. against AT&T alleging customer service-related claims; (4) approval of CPUC’s filing of comments in response to FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) in which the FCC proposes to reverse its 2015 decision adopting the Open Internet Rules; and (5) approval of application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from Tel-One Network Services, Inc.  Commission staff held consideration of Southern California Edison Company’s application for authority to lease fiber optic cables to Verizon until the August 24th meeting.  The Commission also held items by which the Commission would take positions on a wide variety of bills before the Legislature.  These legislative items are currently scheduled for disposition at the August 10th meeting.  These and other items of interest addressed during the Commission meeting are summarized below.
 
REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS
 
Approval of California Telecommunications Public Purpose Programs Estimated Budgets for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year (Item 13 on Consent Agenda).
 
The Commission adopted a resolution funding the six telecommunications public purpose programs for the 2017-2018 fiscal year in the total amount of $992,879,000.  Each program with its respective approved budget amount and any related notes are outlined as follows:
 
California Advanced Services Fund:  $75,800,000—The current CASF surcharge rate is 0.00%.
California High Cost Fund-A:  $49,190,000—The current CHCF-A program surcharge rate is 0.35%.
California High Cost Fund-B:  $22,289,000—The current CHCF-B program surcharge rate is 0.00%.
California LifeLine Program:  $630,046,000—CD’s estimate is in part based on CD’s projection that the Specific Support Amount will increase from $13.75 to $14.30 in January 2018.  Local assistance comprises $599,466,000 of the total budgeted amount and state operations (including the cost of the third party administrator) accounts for the remaining $30,580,000.
California Teleconnect Fund:  $147,545,000—The current CTF program surcharge rate is 1.08%.
Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program:  $67,973,000—The current DDTP program surcharge rate is 0.50%.
 
A copy of Resolution T-17572 is available at the following link:
 
http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M192/K128/192128489.PDF
 
Approval of Funding for the Grant Application of Race Telecommunications, Inc., from CASF up to the Amount of $27,629,599 for the Gigafy Phelan Underserved Broadband Project in San Bernardino County (Item 2 on Consent Agenda, Taken up with Regular Agenda--Approved).
 
Race Telecommunications, Inc.’s proposed CASF Gigafy Phelan Project in San Bernardino County was adopted.  The grant is for the full amount of $27,629,599.  Race filed its original application on August 10, 2015 and subsequently revised its application in response to a protest by Charter Communications.  This approval comes after extensive research, investigation and data analysis undertaken by Communications Division (“CD”) to determine the extent of underserved and unserved areas in the proposed project area.  CD determined that Race’s project qualifies for funding and conforms with all of the CASF program rules and guidelines. 
 
A copy of Resolution T-17525 is available at the following link:
 
http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M192/K133/192133250.PDF
 
Approval of Decision Dismissing the Complaint of J. Boggeri & Co. (Item 4 on Consent Agenda).
 
In its original complaint, J. Boggeri & Co. claimed ongoing issues relating to billing, customer service, and technical problems.  Mediation followed and resulted in a confidential settlement agreement.  AT&T subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the complaint based on its having satisfied all material obligations pursuant to the parties’ settlement agreement.  J. Boggeri & Co. refused to respond to AT&T’s motion to dismiss on the basis of a collateral dispute relating to telephone wireline service.  Notwithstanding this, the Commission approved the decision granting AT&T’s motion and dismissing J. Boggeri & Co.’s complaint.  The decision finds that AT&T is entitled to dismissal as a matter of law given that it has acted in conformity with the terms of the relevant settlement agreement.
 
A copy of the decision is available at the following link:
 
http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M192/K142/192142035.PDF
 
Approval of Commission Providing Comments in Response to FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”)  Regarding Classification of Broadband Internet Access Service (“BIAS”) (Item 24 on Regular Agenda--Approved).
 
The FCC issued an NPRM in which the FCC seeks comment on reinstating the information service classification of broadband service, the effects on regulatory structures created by the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, eliminating the Internet conduct standard, and determining the need for existing Open Internet rules (or “Net Neutrality” rules, including the enhanced transparency, no blocking, and no unjust/unreasonable discrimination rules adopted in the 2015 Open Internet Order), among other related items.  The comments recommend that the FCC continue to support the federal Lifeline broadband pilot initiative designed to explore adding broadband to the federal Lifeline program while also reiterating the Commission’s opposition to substituting funding for telephone service in favor of broadband service, or allowing federal Lifeline providers to offer only broadband to federal Lifeline participants.  The comments also recommend that the Commission support strong preventative measures to protect consumer privacy and oppose any action that may hinder states’ efforts to implement their own vigorous privacy protections for their citizens with respect to use of the Internet.  Finally, the comments support retaining all available relevant legal protections for people with disabilities. 
 
A copy of the memorandum is available at the following link:
 
https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/107172199528427/WC%20Docket%20No.%2017-108%20CPUC%20Comments%20on%20Restoring%20Internet%20Freedom.pdf
 
 Approval of Application of Tel-One Network Services, Inc. for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to operate as a Competitive Local Carrier (Item 17 on Consent Agenda).
 
Tel-One Network Services, Inc. (“Tel-One”) is a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) doing business in the city and county of San Francisco.  On August 16, 2016, Tel-One filed an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“CPCN”) to provide limited facilities-based broadband services in California.  In its application, Tel-One proposed to provide 50 megabyte and above broadband internet services to business and residential customers via: 1) fiber optic cable that is either leased from other companies, or placed within existing rights-of-way and/or conduits that are leased from other companies; or 2) wired broadband delivered using High Level Data Link Control protocol over traditional copper cabling; or 3) low power point-to-point microwave communication facilities, using FCC approved spread-spectrum technologies.  CD recommended the approval of the application based on its findings that Tel-One satisfied all applicable CPCN application requirements and that grant of the application was consistent with the public interest.
 
A copy of the decision is available at the following link: 
 
http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M191/K629/191629009.PDF
 
SIGNIFICANT HELD ITEMS
 
Commission Positions on Key Legislation (Items 25-31, Held Until 8/10)
 
Every year, the Commission takes positions on key bills under consideration by the Legislature affecting public utilities, the Commission’s governance, and related matters.  A wide variety of bills are on the Commission’s agenda for evaluation, and they will be informed by memoranda from the Commission’s Office of Government Affairs (OGA).  Specific information regarding the Commission’s positions will likely be revealed closer to the time that the Commission will have to take positions. 
 
Southern California Edison’s Lease of Fiber Optic Cables to Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless (Item 9, Held Until 8/24).
 
This proposed decision would grant Southern California Edison Company (“SCE”) authority to lease to Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless (“Verizon Wireless”) certain optical fibers along existing routes and additional routes that are being constructed in Southern California pursuant to their Master Dark Fiber Lease Agreement.  Under the Master Dark Fiber Lease Agreement, SCE will grant an exclusive lease for Verizon Wireless’ use of certain optical fibers along various cable routes within Southern California.  Verizon Wireless will submit to SCE Lease Route Orders specifying the circuits and number of optical fibers it will lease, subject to SCE’s review and approval.  SCE will own, operate, and maintain the entire fiber optic cable, while Verizon Wireless shall pay for and arrange all connections of its facilities with the fibers that it leases.  The proposed decision would approve the lease transaction on the grounds that it satisfies all applicable application requirements and is in the public interest.
 
A copy of the proposed decision is available at the following link: 
 
http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/SearchRes.aspx?docformat=ALL&docid=191017759

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