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On February 28, 2013, the Commission held its regularly-scheduled meeting.  On the regular agenda, the Commission discussed the Channel Islands Project request for Rural Telecommunications Infrastructure (AB 140).  On the consent agenda, several significant items were adopted, including the 2013 CHCF-A funding resolution for the Small LECs.  The Commission also authorized Kerman and Foresthill to incur low-interest debt that will allow the companies to fund construction projects and enhance service offerings for customers.  In addition, the Commission closed the VoIP proceeding and approved a Decision confirming issues for consideration in the ongoing Service Quality proceeding.  These and other items of interests are discussed in further detail below. 

REGULAR AGENDA ITEMS

RTIGP Funding for the Channel Islands Project (Item 37, discussed and held) – This Draft Resolution would authorize a Rural Telecommunications Infrastructure Grant Program (pursuant to AB 140) (“RTIGP”) grant in the amount of $2,693,000 to the Channel Islands Telephone Company (“CITC”) for the construction of the Channel Islands Telephone Company Grant Project (“Channel Islands Project”).  CITC currently has a limited-facility-based certificate of public convenience and necessity (“CPCN”); however, it would require a full-facilities-based CPCN for this grant to become effective.  An application to expand CITC’s authority is pending before the Commission and discussed below as Item 28 (A.10-02-009).  The Channel Islands Project proposes to provide telephone service to four of the eight Channel Islands, specifically San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa.  The grant allocation would include a $35,000 allotment intended to supplement funds previously allocated under Resolution T-17151 for the applicant to complete a CEQA review.  The Draft Resolution would also authorize the Commission’s Executive Director to enter into a contract with the County of Ventura to act as a fiscal agent for the Channel Islands Project.   
 
Commissioner Florio introduced the item and noted concerns related to the applicant’s regulatory track record, explaining that the applicant did not inform the Commission that its corporate authority to operate in California had been suspended.  The Commission had discovered this information shortly before a prior meeting, where this item had also been on the agenda.  In addition, he noted that in related item 28, the Channel Islands Telephone Corporation seeks a full facilities-based CPCN and that there is a Proposed Decision pending to recommend a separate Rule 1 proceeding because CITC’s affiliate failed to file a certificate of compliance with the FCC.  Commissioner Florio explained that these regulatory issues raised significant concerns regarding the fitness of the CITC for this proposed grant.
 
In addition, Commissioner Florio raised safety-related concerns and questioned the effectiveness of the project in the event of an emergency.  He relied on a response letter from the superintendent of the National Park Service.  The superintendent noted that the maps provided by the CITC indicated that cellular service would operate within a half mile radius from the cell tower.  However, the superintendent clarified that the maps failed to account for the topography of the Channel Islands, and explained that the project would be less effective than proposed.  The superintendent also noted that the project would not address emergency access needs, as the project would not provide service in back road areas.  The superintendent explained that recent tragedies have occurred in the more remote areas of the island, and emergency access and service in these areas are critical.  
 
Commissioner Peterman asked for clarification on the service and notification requirements for the project, and whether the Native American group whose representative spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting should have been better notified.
 
Commissioner Sandoval asked the Communications Division to consider whether they had sufficient information to recommend funding for this project.  She cited to the additional contingencies and permits required by this project, and urged the CD to ensure that it has sufficiently evaluated all moving parts.  In particular, she questioned the role of the Navy given its control over one of the islands and asked whether the CD had engaged in conversations with the Navy regarding rights-of-way issues and permits.  Interim Director Michael Amato explained that the CD has considered these issues and noted that the Draft Resolution acknowledges these contingencies and permits by requiring the CITC to resolve these issues with the staff before moving forward with the project.  
 
Commissioner Ferron Commissioner Ferron also asked for clarification regarding the protocols in place for projects that exhaust the authorized funding before completing the project.  Mr. Amato explained that the project company could choose to request additional funding in such circumstances.
 
President Peevey noted that he had similar concerns as those raised by the other Commissioners.  
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link

CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS
 
California High Cost Fund-A Allocations Adopted for Calendar Year 2013 (Item 12, adopted on consent agenda) – This Resolution adopts a total of $32.628 million in California High Cost Fund-A (“CHCF-A) support for Calendar Year 2013, which is over a million dollars less than the support adopted for CY 2012.  The CHCF-A fund provides supplemental revenues to the Small LECs to ensure that customers in rural areas are served by companies and receive high quailty service at affordable rates.  The funds will be dispersed to the following Small Local Exchange Carriers (“Small LECs”): Calaveras, Cal-Ore, Ducor, (4) Foresthill, (5) Kerman, (6) Pinnacle, (7) Ponderosa, (8) Sierra, (9) Siskiyou, and (10) Volcano.    
 
The Communications Division’s (“CD’s”) recommended amounts were determined by: (1) applying the means test, where applicable; (2) applying waterfall provisions in funding levels, where applicable(3) interstate adjustments for changes in federal Universal Service Fund funding; (4) adjusting for the Connect America Fund and intercarrier compensation; (5) evaluating the revenue effect associated with the California LifeLine Decision D.10-11-003; and (6) considering the revenue effect associated with potential modification to carrier support pending in ongoing Applications for Rehearing.   
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link:

Kerman  and Foresthill Authorized To Issue New RUS Debt (Item 26, Item 27 adopted on consent agenda ) – These Decisions grants Kerman Telephone Co. (“Kerman”) and Foresthill Telephone Company (“Foresthill”) the authority to enter into a loan agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service (“RUS”).  Kerman is authorized to issue notes in an amount not to exceed $10.057 million.  Foresthill is authorized to issue notes up to $6.56 million.  The RUS provides low interest debt financing to help rural utilities update and institute new services. 
 
The Decision also approves the loan agreement and supplemental security agreements associated with the RUS notes, including a Loan Agreement, Mortgage Note(s), Restated Mortgage, Security Agreement, and Financing Statement.  RUS will advance funds to Kerman and Foresthill after execution of the Mortgage Note at various interest rates determined by reference to the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 and implementing regulations. 
 
The additional capital will be used to fund construction projects in Kerman and Foresthill’s service territory that will: (1) maintain reliable, high-quality voice service; and (2) continue to advance the deployment of broadband-capable facilities that the companies believes will provide improved access to advanced services.  Construction projects include: (1) replacing cable and wire facilities that the companies believe are beyond their useful lives; and (2) upgrading facilities through placement of fiber cable facilities and electronic circuits.  In addition, Kerman intends to institute a new operational support system to introduce efficiencies into Kerman’s customer service and maintenance programs. 
 
The Decision also grants Kerman and Foresthill the authority to encumber their utility property to secure its long-term loan from the RUS for properly regulated utility purposes.  The Decision finds the financing requested is necessary based on Kerman and Foresthill’s sources and uses forecasts, and is compliant with the requirements set forth in Public Utilities Code Sections 817 and 818.
 
A copy of the Proposed Decisions underlying these items are available here and here
 
Provisions of Scoping Memo and Ruling Approved for Service Quality Performance Proceeding (Item 13, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision affirms the provisions of the scoping memo and ruling (“Scoping Memo”) issued in the rulemaking proceeding to consider service quality performance and modifications to the G.O. 133 rules.  The Scoping Memo explains that carriers must have access to an adequate network of infrastructure to maintain acceptable levels of service quality for California customers.  Within the scope of the proceeding, the Commission will evaluate carriers’ network infrastructure, facilities, and related policies and practices. 
 
The Scoping Memo determines that a study will be conducted by an independent consultant overseen by the Commission’s Communications Division.  The estimated cost of the study will be $1 million, and Scoping Memo orders the cost of the study to be split between AT&T and Verizon based on the carrier’s share of total intrastate revenues.  The assigned Commissioner will have the authority to set specific procedures to ensure that the Commission receives timely funding from AT&T and Verizon, may modify the study’s scope and objectives as necessary to ensure a complete record.  The assigned Commission may also modify the estimated funding for this study, up to $1.5 million.
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Proceeding to Consider VoIP Issues Closed as Moot (Item 11, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision closes a proceeding opened by the Commission to add California providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) service to the category of voice service providers who are required to fund California universal service programs.  These programs include the California LifeLine program, the California High-Cost Funds A and B, the California Advanced Services Fund, the California Teleconnect Fund, and the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program fund.  The proceeding was initiated by the Commission on the basis that the FCC had determined that interconnected VoIP providers must report and contribute to the federal Universal Service Fund on all interstate and international end-user revenues.  The Commission wanted to ensure that VoIP companies would similarly contribute to state public policy funds.  The Consumer Protection and Safety Division (“CPSD”) later filed a motion requesting that the scope of the proceeding be expanded to extend to consumer protection rules applicable to other telecommunication service providers to VoIP telecommunications service providers.  The motion was not been acted on, but is denied by virtue of the proceeding being closed. 
 
During the pendency of this proceeding, parallel considerations were being evaluated by the California Legislature, and those efforts ultimately rendered this proceeding moot.  In Assembly Bill (“AB”) 841, the California Legislature enacted a requirement for interconnected VoIP providers to contribute to public service programs, rendering the formally articulated purpose of the rulemaking moot.  In addition, in Senate Bill (“SB”) 1161, the California Legislature appropriately determined that the Commission would not exercise regulatory jurisdiction or control over VoIP services, except to the extent required by federal law.  The Decision determines that it is appropriate to close the proceeding since the initial scope of the proceeding was resolved by AB 841 and the request for additional consideration of jurisdictional issues was rendered moot by SB 1161. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:  
 
Telco Connection’s Application for a Limited-Based CPCN Denied (Item 7, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision denies Telco Connection, LLC (“Telco Connection”)’s application to provide interexchange telephone services in California.  Telco Connection is a California limited liability company incorporated on November 12, 2010.  Telco Connection’s sole officer was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Tel, Inc. dba AT (“ATI”) from 1999 to 2009.  ATI was registered as a telephone carrier in California in 2002.  In 2006, the founder and CEO of ATI (“ATI CEO”) transferred 100% ownership interest in ATI to InterMetro Communications (“InterMetro”), and ATI became a wholly-owned subsidiary of InterMetro, with ATI CEO remaining the president of ATI. 
 
The Consumer Protection and Safety Division (“CPSD”) protested Telco Connection’s application and asserted that Telco Connection violated Rule 1.1 for failing to identify the following irregularities with its affiliate’s regulatory history: (1) in 2006, the Florida Public Service Commission ordered ATI to pay a penalty, cost of collection, past due Regulatory Assessment fees, and statutory late payment charges; (2) the South Dakota Public Service Commission revoked ATI’s Certificate of Authority to provide interexchange telecommunications services in South Dakota for failing to submit an annual report and pay gross receipts tax; and (3) the Oregon Public Utility Commission canceled ATI’s certificate of authority to provide interexchange switched and dedicated transmission telecommunications service in Oregon in 2005, 2009, and in 2010 for failing to comply with the OPUC’s rules and regulations. 
 
In addition, the CPSD identified regulatory enforcement and investigatory action taken while ATI CEO managed ATI as the sole officer, including: (1) an investigation into ATI by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority for failing to secure and provide a bond or letter of credit; (2) Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission’s cancellation of ATI’s telecommunications provider registration in 2010; (3) an FCC investigation into the unauthorized transfer of control of ATI to InterMetro; and (4) the Public Service Commission of the State of Nebraska’s revocation of ATI’s CPCN in 2010. 
 
In response to CPSD’s investigation, Telco Connection stated that ATI CEO was ATI’s president after InterMetro’s acquisition, but had no control over any financial decisions.  ATI CEO also stated that Telco Connection inadvertently made a mistake in the application and had no intention of misleading the Commission.  Telco Connection and the CPSD entered into a Settlement Agreement to resolve all the issues identified in the CPSD’s protest.  The company acknowledged that it failed to properly and fully advise the Commission of the issues identified above, and that it has attempted to respond to correct the issues identified in CPSD’s protect.  It also stated that it would meet all regulatory and legal obligations and its responsibilities to its customers and members of the public in California.  In addition, Telco Connection agreed to make a payment of $6,500 and file an amended application. 
 
The Decision rejects the Settlement Agreement, finding that ATI CEO and related telephone companies have failed to meet the standards of telecommunications regulators in the States of Florida, South Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Nebraska, as well as the FCC.  The Decision moreover finds that ATI CEO’s explanation “has a hollow ring” and does not explain the lack of knowledge regarding revoked certificates, fines, and investigations that should have been identified.  The Decision determines that the failure to list these incidents is not inadvertence, and “not so minor that an apology and payment of $6,500 would rectify deliberate misleading of the Commission.”  For these reasons, the Decision rejects the settlement, dismisses  Telco’s application, and closed the proceeding.
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Cricket Granted Limited Modification of Commission Decision (Item 29, adopted on consent agenda) – This Decision modifies D.11-12-022 in response to a petition for modification by Cricket Communications, Inc. (“Cricket”).  D.11-12-022 granted a limited rehearing of the Resolution T-17266 approving Cricket’s ETC designation, in order to revise the Commission’s application of federal law in granting limited eligible telecommunications carrier status to Cricket.  D.11-12-022 inadvertently revised the effective date of Cricket’s Lifeline-only designation throughout its entire service territory, rather than just inside the rural Small LEC service areas, where its authority was made contingent upon fulfilling additional federal requirements.  The Decision clarifies that the effective date of Cricket’s Lifeline-only ETC designation outside rural Small LEC territories is December 2, 2010 and the effective date of Cricket’s Lifeline-only ETC designation inside rural Small LEC territories is February 8, 2012. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Virgin Mobile Authorized to Offer Federal Lifeline Service Pursuant to its Existing ETC Designation (Item 15, adopted on consent agenda) – This Resolution authorizes Virgin Mobile, USA (“Virgin”), dba Assurance Wireless, to offer new wireless federal Lifeline service plans to eligible customers in California, except in the territories serviced by the Small LECs.  Virgin does not offer California LifeLine services and will not receive subsidies from the California LifeLine fund. 
 
Virgin is a facilities-based wireless service provider and authorized to operate as a reseller of Commercial Mobile Radio Services (“CMRS”) to the public of California.  In 2011, Virgin was granted ETC status and authorized to provide wireless federal Lifeline services to eligible consumers in California, except in the Small LEC service areas.  The Resolution authorizes Virgin to offer the following three wireless federal Lifeline plans in California: (1) a free plan that includes 250 voice minutes and 250 domestic messages each month at no cost to the customer; (2) a $5 dollar a month plan that includes 500 total voice minutes and 500 domestic messages; (3) a $20 a month plan that includes 1,000 voice minutes and 1,000 domestic messages; and (4) a $30 dollar unlimited plan that includes unlimited voice minutes, domestic messages, and access to Virgin XL downloads (ringtones, wallpapers, etc.). 
 
The Resolution also requires Virgin to comply with the following: (1) G.O. 153’s verification and certification process; (2) to only provide Lifeline services after eligibility is approved by the California LifeLine Administrator; and (3) labeling Lifeline offerings as federal Lifeline to minimize customer confusion between state and federal Lifeline programs.  The Resolution also identifies two safety considerations inherent with any Lifeline wireless plan: (1) the removal of the handset from the home; and (2) poor mobile reception resulting from weather conditions, terrain, or gaps in service coverage.  To address these concerns, the Resolution also requires Virgin to: (1) provide customers with information about potential coverage, service quality and safety issues; and (2) provide CD staff with copies of all marketing and information materials for review and approval. 
 
Cricket protested Virgin’s Advice Letter filing on the basis that it was improperly filed as a Tier II AL.  Cricket also claimed that a free rate plan required an approval by the full Commission since the Commission previously rejected Virgin’s free rate plan in Res. T-17824 for not complying with D.10-11-033’s pricing rules.  D.10-11-033 set a price floor for California LifeLine plans at $2.50.  Since ETC status for a wireless carrier’s request for federal lifeline purposes are evaluated for compliance with California LifeLine rules, Cricket argued that Virgin’s “free plan” violated the Commission’s rules.  The Resolution rejects Cricket’s protest, noting that the policies imposing a price floor expired on December 31, 2012 and the Commission is no longer bound by those pricing rules.  Therefore, the Resolution finds Cricket’s protest to be moot.
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link:  
 
Nexus Authorized to Offer Three New Plans for Federal Lifeline Services (Item 16, adopted on consent) – This Resolution authorizes Nexus Communications, Inc’s (“Nexus”) dba Reachout Wireless to offer new wireless federal Lifeline plans to eligible consumers in Verizon and AT&T service areas in California.  Nexus does not offer California LifeLine services and will not receive subsidies from the California LifeLine fund. 
 
This Resolution authorizes Nexus to provide the following three Federal Lifeline plans:  (1) a free plan that includes 250 voice minutes and 250 domestic messages each month at no cost to the customer; (2) a $5 dollar a month plan that includes 500 total voice minutes and 500 domestic messages; (3) a $20 a month plan that includes 1,000 voice minutes and 1,000 domestic messages; and (4) a $30 dollar unlimited plan that includes unlimited voice minutes, and domestic messages.  These new plans replace previously approved plans and include local and long distance domestic voice calls, without regard for distance or time of calls.  These plans will have no service contracts, no activation or termination fees, and no charge to change from any service plan to another Nexus plan or the new free plan.  Additional minutes will be available for purchase at an airtime rate of $0.033 per minute/message. 
 
The Resolution also found two safety considerations inherent with any Lifeline wireless plan: (1) the removal of the handset from the home; and (2) poor mobile reception resulting from weather conditions, terrain, or gaps in service coverage.  To address these concerns, the Resolution requires Nexus to (1) provide customers with information about potential coverage, service quality and safety issues; and (2) provide CD staff with copies of all marketing and information materials for review and approval. 
 
Cricket protested Nexus’s Advice Letter filing on the basis that it was improperly filed as a Tier II AL.  Cricket relied also claimed that a free rate plan would require an approval by the full Commission because a free federal Lifeline rate plan was previously rejected by the Commission in Res. T-17824 for not complying with D.10-11-033’s pricing rules.  D.10-11-033 set a price floor for California LifeLine plans at $2.50.  Since ETC status for a wireless carrier’s request for federal lifeline purposes is evaluated for compliance with California LifeLine rules, Cricket argued that Nexus’s “free plan” violated the Commission’s rules.  The Resolution rejects Cricket’s protest and concludes that the decision in Res. T-17824 applied to one carrier, and not all carriers. Moreover, the Resolution determines that Nexus’s free plan complies with the Commission’s LifeLine pricing rules, which no longer impose price floors.
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link:  
 
Customer Complaint Against MCI Dismissed (Item 18, adopted on consent agenda) –
This Decision dismisses a customer complaint against MCI Communications Services, Inc., dba Verizon Business Services (“MCI”).  The Complainant alleged that MCI obstructed her attempt to purchase a $600 recharge to her prepaid calling card.  MCI explained that Complainant’s recharge triggered a fraud alert due to the unusually high amount requested, which was over 10 times the amount Complainant had spent in the past on recharges and over 20 times the average amount other customers would recharge the card.  MCI’s third-party credit card processing vendor was unable to verify the legitimacy of the transaction and ultimately denied the attempted transaction. 
 
The Complainant requested that MCI allow her to purchase of additional minutes, issue a public apology for MCI’s alleged treatment, give advance notification of all MCI’s prepaid calling card holders of intent to discontinue prepaid calling card services, and to make a donation to The Utility Reform Network to assist in educating consumers on the problems Complainant allegedly experienced.  The Decision finds that the action of MCI’s third party credit card processing vendor’s fraud detection unit was reasonable and the Complainant failed to demonstrate that MCI violated any applicable rule, law or tariff of the Commission.  Therefore the Decision determines that it is appropriate to dismiss the complaint and close the proceeding.
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:  
 
LEGISLATIVE ITEMS
 
Proposed Legislation on Excavation Penalties, AB 1514 (Item 39, withdrawn) – This bill would:  (1) cap existing civil penalty amounts for negligent violations at $100,000 and for knowing and willful violations at $250,000; (2) classify failures to notify one-call centers as knowing and willful violations; (3) impose requirements on excavation incident investigation reports; (4) apportion penalty amounts among the prosecuting agencies engaged in the enforcement action; (5) not provide the Commission with additional legal authority or ability to receive reports from violators, one-call centers, or entities non-jurisdictional to the Commission; and (6) not provide the Commission with additional compensation for costs related to excavation incident investigations or the preparation of costs.  The purpose of this bill is to address concerns regarding inadequate enforcement of excavation violations by providing incentive and ability for other entities to prosecute these violations.  The Legislative subcommittee recommendation would have been for the Commission to support this bill. 
 
A copy of the Legislative Memo underlying this item is available at the following link
 
HELD AGENDA ITEMS

Revisions to the Certification Processes for Telephone Corporations Seeking or Holding CPCNs and WIRs (Item 36, held by Staff until 3/21/13)– This Proposed Decision would adopt revisions to the certification process for telephone corporations seeking or holding Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (“CPCN”) and wireless carriers seeking or holding Wireless Identification Registration (“WIR”).  The changes to the certification processes are intended to increase accountability for carriers, reduce the need for enforcement actions to be brought, and improve the Commission’s ability to collect fines, penalties, and bring restitution.  The Proposed Decision would establish a Phase II of the proceeding to determine performance bond requirements, as discussed below.
 
The Proposed Decision would require all applicants seeking or holding a CPCN or WIR to post a bond to facilitate the collection of fines, fees, surcharges, taxes, penalties, and restitution.  ILECs are specifically exempted from the bond requirement.  The bond amount for applicants seeking or holding a CPCN or a WIR would be initially set at $25,000.  In Phase II of the rulemaking, the Commission will determine, starting with input in workshops, a reasonable performance bond amount based on intrastate revenue and/or consumer protection considerations.  The bond amount for new applicants granted a CPCN or WIR that have not reported annual intrastate revenues to the Commission would be $25,000. 
 
The Proposed Decision would also: (1) require CPCN applicants and wireless registrants to provide the Commission with resumes and detailed information on key officers, directors, and certain owners; (2) require applicants seeking to transfer licenses or registrations to verify compliance with Commission reporting, fee, and surcharge transmittals; (3) increase the application fee for new and transferred CPCN authority from $75 to $500, subject to legislative approval; (4) require wireless registrants to pay a $250 fee for new and transferred registration; (5) establish a minimum annual user fee of the Commission-established rate in effect at the time or $100, whichever is greater; and (5) require a new verification with specified language that certain key officers, directors, and owners were never associated with a telecommunications carrier that filed for bankruptcy, was sanctioned by the FCC or state regulatory agency, or was ever found civilly or criminally liable by a court.   
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Channel Islands Telephone Company’s Application to Expand CPCN Authority (Item 28, held until 3/21/13) – This Proposed Decision would grant Channel Islands Telephone Company (“CITC”) a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“CPCN”) to provide facilities-based local exchange and interexchange service to five of the Channel Islands.  The CITC was previously granted a CPCN to provide limited facilities-based local exchange and interexchange services in California.  However, a full-facilities based CPCN is required when a telecommunications provider wishes to perform non-minor construction.  The CITC project proposal would involve installation of cellular telecommunication infrastructure at 15 project locations on Anacapa Island, San Miguel Island, Santa Barbara Island, Santa Cruz Island, and Santa Rosa Island.  CITC included a Proponent’s Environmental Assessment in its application and an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration (“ISMND”) was prepared pursuant to CEQA requirements.  The ISMND concluded that the project would not have a significant adverse effect on the environment with the required mitigation and identified a number of project elements to be addressed as conditions of approval. 
 
The Proposed Decision would also open a Phase 2 to the proceeding to determine wither the CITC violated Rule 1.1 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure for failing to inform the Commission that the California Secretary of State suspended the CITC’s authority to conduct business in California for failing to comply with Franchise Tax obligations.
 
In discussing Item 37 on the Channel Islands Project, Commissioner Florio raised concerns regarding the CITC’s fitness as telecommunications provider given its relationship with North County Communications (“North County”).  North County is an affiliate of CITC.  As disclosed in CITC’s application, North Coast was subject of an ongoing investigation by the FCC for its apparent failure to timely file its annual certifications of compliance with the FCC’s customer proprietary network information rules.  The FCC investigation was resolved by an FCC Consent Decree requiring North Coast to make a voluntary payment of $400 to the United States Treasury. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Resolution Setting DIVCA’s Annual Fee for Video Franchise Holders for FY 2012-2013 (Item 6, held by Florio until 3/21/13) – This Resolution would set the annual fee for  FY 2012-2013 to at $0.0373833 cents per household in a video franchise holder’s territory.  This would be a 12% decrease from FY 2011-2012’s annual fee at $0.0423, due to a 13% increase in households in franchise holders’ territories to 25,413,155 households.  The annual fee is based on a pro-rata allocation of households in the franchisee holders’ video service territories, would generate $950,000, and would be consistent with the amount authorized by the Commission’s FY 2011-2012 DIVCA-related budget.  Video franchise holders with franchises issued on or before the date this Resolution is issued would pay their annual fees for FY 2012-2013 before April 30, 2013.  Holders of franchises granted after the date of the Resolution would pay the fee amount within 60 days after the issuance of their franchise or by June 30, 2013, whichever is earlier. 
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link
 
NOTES AND COMMISSIONER REPORTS

During the public session, a representative of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians spoke out against the Channel Islands Project.  The speaker noted that the tribe was not properly served with notice of the project and urged the Commission to properly notify all tribes in the Channel Islands.  He explained that the project would have a devastating impact on the Channel Islands and all the tribes occupying the islands.
 
Commissioner Sandoval noted her attendance at the FCC Field Hearing on Super Storm Sandy and the lessons learned in emergency response from that natural disaster.  She also participated on NARUC’s Federalism and Telecommunications Task Force, which dealt with important issues related to reliability in the telecommunications arena. 
 
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If you have questions regarding any of the above items, or the underlying proceedings in which they arose, please feel free to contact us.
 

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