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On June 12, 2014 the Commission held its regularly-scheduled meeting.  No telecommunications items were addressed on the regular agenda, but on the consent agenda, the Commission adopted a decision that updates cost proxies for the CHCF-B program.  In addition, during the Commissioner reports, Commissioner Sandoval gave an overview the Yreka Public Participation Hearing and related central office site visits to Cal-Ore and Siskiyou.  These and other items of interest are discussed in further detail below.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
 
Decision Adopting Methodologies to Update Cost Proxies for CHCF-B (Item 15, approved on consent) – This Decision adopts provisions to implement updated methodologies to calculate cost support amounts for the California High Cost Fund B (“CHCF-B”) program by utilizing the most currently available census data. 
 
The Commission had last adopted CHCF-B cost proxy inputs based on 1990 census demographics, and those data had not been updated to accommodate significant changes in customer demographics, carrier technologies, and general industry conditions over the years.  In this rulemaking, the Commission sought to evaluate steps and processes to produce updated statewide Census Block Group (“CBG”) mapping data based on the 2010 federal census for the purposes of revising the cost proxies utilized to calculate CHCF-B fund support amounts.  A workshop was held to address this issue in March 2013.  Subsequently, various parties joined together to submit a consensus proposal supporting methodologies and algorithms that would remap 1990 households from their 1990 CBGs to CBGs based on the 2010 census.  These methodologies were developed by GeoLytics, Inc., a consultant retained by the parties.  The procedure involved a complicated assessment of how block boundaries had changed, and is summarized in Attachment A of the Decision. 
 
The Decision authorizes the implementation of the parties’ joint proposal for methodologies and algorithms to remap 1990 households and adopts the CBG per line costs developed by GeoLytics.  The Decision also notes that if there are new 2010 CBGs that are now or will subsequently become eligible to receive support from the CHCF-B fund, then a process for determining the level of CHCF-B support could be developed.  The Decision declines to undertake further steps to adjust existing cost proxies or to impose a density screen as a constraint for limiting the number of access lines that would otherwise qualify for B-Fund support. 
 
The Decision specifically requires CHCF-B recipient carriers to file a Tier 1 Advice Letter to finalize the list of 2010 CBGs eligible for CHCF-B fund support and to update support calculations.  CHCF-B fund carriers are also permitted to file an initial monthly claim using monthly data that is contemporary with the effective date of this Decision. 
 
A copy of the Final Decision underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Cebridge Fined $130,000 for Failure to Obtain Commission Approval for Transfer of Control (Item 3, approved on consent) – This Decision penalizes Cebridge Telecom CA, LLC, Cequel Communications Holdings, LLC, and Nespresso Acquisition Corporation (“Nespressso”) in the amount of $130,000 for these companies’ willful and knowing failure to obtain Commission authorization for a transfer of control of Cebridge, as required by Section 854(a) of the Public Utilities Code.
 
The Decision concludes that the severity of the offense is higher in light of the fact that Cebridge’s did not file an application in advance of the transaction, and its late-filed application failed to reveal the complexity of the transaction and failed to identify all the parties to the transaction who were acquiring control over Cebridge.  Based on the apparent “dearth” of information in the application, the Decision explains that the size of the penalty is appropriate in order to prevent further harm to the regulatory process.  Specifically, the Decision explains that the Commission has enacted careful guidelines for the scrutiny of the owners of telecommunications utilities and that insufficient applications constitute a disregard of the advance approval process and prevents the Commission from meeting its regulatory responsibilities.
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:  
 
$550,000 in CASF Funding Approved for Two Consortia Groups (Item 30, approved on consent) – This Resolution authorizes funding from the Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Account (“Consortia Grant Account”) for two new CASF Regional Broadband Consortia groups, the Broadband Consortiums of the Pacific Coast (“BCPC”) and the North Bay/North Coast Broadband Consortium (“NBNCBC”).  The purpose of the Consortia Grant Account is to fund the cost of broadband deployment activities other than the capital cost of facilities. 
 
The BCPC will serve San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties for two years at a total cost of up to $300,000.  The Resolution finds that BCPC is a regional collaborative organization comprised of government, economic development, education, health, business, and other non-profit organizations focused on identifying and implementing measures that will best achieve the advancement and expansion of regional broadband technology across the counties it serves.  The Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County will serve as the fiscal agent for the BCPC.  The Resolution finds that funding for BCPC is appropriate because the consortium will represent more than 1.5 million Californians spread out over 9,600 square miles.  None of these Californians have previously been represented by a CASF consortium.  In addition, the Resolution explains that the BCPC also has a significant amount of local support, which further justifies funding.
 
The NBNCBC will serve Marin, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma counties for two years at a total cost of up to $250,000.  The Resolution finds that funding is appropriate because NBNCBC will serve more than 960,000 Californian residents spread out over more than 7,200 square miles, of which 390,000 residents have never been previously supported by a broadband consortium.  The Resolution also explains that the NBNCBC will represent a region that is unique because of its rural/urban interface across different counties.  The Resolution explains that these counties vary in population, but are linked by a common tourism-driven local economy that demands high-speed broadband for visitors and businesses seeking to relocate in the area. 
 
The Resolution also orders BCPC and NBNCBC to comply with administrative requirements and guidelines, as follows:  (1) each consortia will commence work on July 1, 2014; (2) each consortia must submit a written quarterly progress report at the end of each calendar quarter that discusses activities and achievements; and (3) each consortia must submit an updated work plan for approval by May 1, 2015 to receive approval of the Year 2 budget allowance. 
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link:  
 
Statutory Deadline Extended in Vaya v. AT&T Complaint (Item 36, approved on consent) – This Decision extends the statutory deadline for resolving the two consolidated complaints filed between VAYA Telecom, Inc. (“Vaya”) and Pacific Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T California (“AT&T”) to June 18, 2015.  The first complaint was filed by Vaya, which asserted that AT&T improperly assessed switched access charges on terminating and transiting VoIP traffic that Vaya delivered to AT&T.  A second complaint was filed by AT&T against Vaya asserting that Vaya breached the parties’ interconnection agreement by delivering interLATA traffic over local interconnection trunks. 

In D.14-01-006 the Commission resolved the legal issues raised by both complaints.  However, D.14-01-006 did not resolve the amounts due.  Instead, the Decision ordered Vaya and AT&T to meet and confer and to file a joint statement that shows the amount of traffic transmitted by Vaya to AT&T, the classification of the traffic, amounts paid to AT&T for transmission of that traffic, and additional amounts due to AT&T for termination. 

Since D.14-01-006 was issued, Vaya has filed an Application for Rehearing and AT&T has moved to have the Commission enforce D.14-01-006.  Vaya then moved to strike portions of AT&T’s response to Vaya’s Application for Rehearing.  The Decision concludes that an extension of the statutory deadline is necessary in order to address these filings and to resolve the amounts due pursuant to the D.14-01-006. 

A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:

Statutory Deadline Extended for Commission’s Investigation into Telseven’s Business Practices (Item 42, approved on consent) – – This Decision extends the statutory deadline for resolving the Commission’s investigation into the operations, practices and conduct of Telseven, LLC (“Telseven”), Calling 10 LLC d/b/a California Calling 10 (“Calling 10″), and Patrick Hines to determine if any of the named parties violated the laws, rules, and regulations of the State of California in the provisioning of directory assistance services to California consumers.  The statutory deadline was previously extended due to delays caused by Telseven’s bankruptcy filing and the subsequent withdrawal of Telseven, Calling 10, and Patrick Hines’s counsel on record.  Since the last extension, a Presiding Officer’s Decision (“POD”) has been issued, and has been on the Commission’s Agenda since May 1, 2014.  Since the POD has been held to June 26, 2014, additional time is necessary to evaluate the POD.  As a result, the Decision extends the statutory deadline December 16, 2014. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:   
 
$23,014.17 in Intervenor Contribution Awarded to the Center for Accessible Technology (Item 55, approved on consent) –This Decision grants the Center for Accessible Technology (“CforAT”) $23,014.17 in intervenor compensation for its contribution to D. 12-08-025, which grants the motion to dismiss the investigation into the proposed purchase and acquisition of T-Mobile USA, Inc. by AT&T as moot because the respondents abandoned their planned merger and withdrew their related application at the FCC.  This Decision explains that D.12-08-025 specifically provides that intervenors may file claims for compensation even though the Commission did not issue a final decision on the merits.  Therefore, the Decision finds that intervenor compensation is appropriate. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:   
 
HELD ITEMS
 
Shasta County Telecom’s Application for CASF Funding (Item 9, held until 6/26/14) – This Draft Resolution would approve $2,238,806 in CASF funding to Shasta County Telecom, Inc. (“Shasta”) for its Shasta County Unserved and Underserved Broadband Project (“Shasta Project”).  This funding amount would represent 60% of the total project cost of $3,731,344.  The Shasta Project would extend high-speed Internet service to an estimated 331 square miles covering north of Bella Vista, Round Mountain, Montgomery Creek, and the Lake Margaret areas of Shasta County.  It is estimated that the Shasta Project would reach an estimated 1,444 households, of which 1,412 households are currently unserved.  At project completion, it is anticipated that 1,444 households would have broadband availabilities at advertised speeds of 20 Mbps down/10 Mbps up.  
 
The proposed project area is currently unserved by wireline technology and underserved by fixed wireless and mobile broadband.  Shasta estimates that 500 households within the project area do not have telephone services.  Shasta proposes to provide fixed wireless broadband and telephone services by installing fixed wireless transmitters and infrastructure on three mountain tops in Shasta County: Bear Mountain, Hatch Mountain, and Round Mountain.  These installations would provide high speed Internet service over a 331 square mile area.  Shasta would also plan on obtaining backhaul capabilities from Level 3 Communications and the telephone central office, connection to the PSTN, and Emergency 911 network will be located in an offsite co-location facility in San Diego, California.
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link:  
 
COMMISSIONER REPORTS
 
Commissioner Sandoval Report on Yreka Public Participation Hearing and Related Central Office Tours – Commissioner Sandoval reported on the second half of her Northern California trip that she had first described during the last Commission meeting.  After her visit to Eureka with Native American Tribes, she attended central office tours at Cal-Ore Telephone Company and the Siskiyou Telephone Company.  She noted that she is the first CPUC Commissioner to visit either Cal-Ore or Siskiyou.  Commissioner Sandoval commended Cal-Ore for engaging in business practices that extend “beyond the borders” and allow it to take advantage of all available resources in order to provide “good service.”  As an example, she explained that Cal-Ore utilizes its proximity to Oregon by extending its fiber routes to include connections in Oregon in order to ensure that its service territories have high-speed internet.  She also highlighted Cal-Ore’s efforts in providing to service to unserved areas through different technologies, including the provisioning of wireless service by its CLEC to Lake Shastina through its tower site atop Herd Peak.  She also noted that Cal-Ore provides public safety benefits by providing critical services to the fire lookout tower also located at Herd Peak.  Overall, she commended Cal-Ore and rural telephone companies for integrating the resources available to them, and for serving as a backhaul for wireless facilities.
 
She also discussed her central office site tour to Siskiyou, and noted that Siskiyou’s service territory is very challenging.  It was noted that Siskiyou serves an area equivalent to the size of Connecticut, which is characterized by areas with extreme winter conditions and the lack of electricity.  She highlighted Siskiyou’s microwave facility in Sawyer’s Bar, which ran on a diesel generator because electricity is not available in the area.  She also observed that Siskiyou provides cell service to Happy Camp, which is a critical resource to this community. 
 
Finally, she discussed the Yreka public participation hearing held in the CHCF-A proceeding, which she announced was the best attended of these set of hearings.  She noted that community members of Sawyer’s Bar participated in the hearing, an area without electricity and broadband.  She explained that despite these limitations, this area played a critical role in public safety, including the use of their community as a staging and landing ground for CalFire. 
 
In addition to her Northern California visit, Commissioner Sandoval also reported on her attendance at the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners where she spoke on a panel addressing telecommunications issues.  On the panel, she had the opportunity to discuss universal service programs and the Commission’s efforts at extending broadband to underserved areas.
 
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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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