skip to Main Content

On May 1, 2014, the Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting in Los Angeles in the hearing room for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District.  The regular agenda focused largely on energy items, but several noteworthy telecommunications items were addressed on the consent agenda, including the initiation of a new rulemaking to address possible expansion of the pole attachment rules to include wireless carriers.  Other telecommunications items were held.  Of particular note amongst the held items is an item that would formalize the Commission’s positions on all of the pending Legislative bills of consequence to utility regulation.  These and other items of interest are discussed in further detail below.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
 
New Rulemaking Proceeding to Address Rules for Nondiscriminatory Pole Attachments (Item 27, approved on consent) – This Decision opens a rulemaking in response to AT&T Mobility’s petition for rulemaking.  The rulemaking will specifically consider whether right-of-way and pole attachment rules need to be amended to encompass Commercial Mobile Radio Service (“CMRS”) carriers in a manner that provides reasonable fees for CMRS pole attachments, projects, public safety, and preserves the reliability of co-located utility facilities. 
 
AT&T Mobility filed a petition for rulemaking on December 17, 2013 pursuant to Public Utilities Code Section 1708.5.  In its petition, AT&T Mobility requested that the Commission amend its rights-of-ways rules adopted in D.98-10-058 to apply to CMRS carriers going forward.  AT&T Mobility’s petition stated that D.98-10-058 prevented CMRS carriers from obtaining nondiscriminatory access to utility poles by:  (1) adopting right-of-way rules for nondiscriminatory pole attachments; (2) excluding CMRS carriers from the adopted rules; and (3) certifying to the FCC that the Commission adopted regulations for nondiscriminatory pole attachments and preempting the FCC’s regulation of pole attachments in California.  AT&T Mobility asserts that the alleged unintended consequence of D.98-10-058 is that CMRS carriers have been faced with unreasonable demands for pole attachments and at the same time cannot seek relief from the FCC. 
 
CTIA and Google filed responses in support of the petition.  CTIA asserted that granting the petition will help the Commission fulfill its obligation to facilitate the deployment of telecommunications services, including broadband.  Google further urged the Commission to address challenges faced by non-certificated providers in building broadband infrastructure without access to utility rights-of-ways. 
 
Electric IOUs and the Commission’s Safety and Enforcement Division (“SED”) opposed AT&T Mobility’s petition.  The Electric IOU’s explained that CMRS carriers have reached agreements with electric utilities that provide access to utility poles statewide.  The Electric IOUs suggest that if CMRS carriers have difficulty reaching pole-attachment agreements, these companies may file complaints with the Commission.  SED argued that the petition would raise safety concerns.  Specifically, SED is concerned that the petition will make it easier for CMRS carriers to attach wireless antennas and equipment to utility poles in an unsafe manner. 
 
The Decision first concludes that AT&T Mobility’s petition complies with the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (“CPUC Rule”) 6.3(a), which requires the Commission to ensure that any “proposed regulation apply to an entire class of entities or activities over which the Commission has jurisdiction and must apply to future conduct.”  The Decision concludes that the petition appropriately requests changes to rules affecting an entire class of entities going forward.  The Decision also finds that the petition complies with CPUC Rule 6.3(b) because it will align the Commission’s right-of-way rules with federal requirements with respect to wireless pole attachments, provide significant public benefits, and allow the commission to complete the deferred task of considering the applicability of right-of-way rules to CMRS carriers.  The Decision further finds that Google’s request to broaden the rulemaking to other broadband access concerns was procedurally unsupported. 
 
In addressing AT&T Mobility’s petition and the related responses, the Decision concludes that CMRS carriers have a right under federal law and FCC regulations to nondiscriminatory pole attachments subject to certain constraints.  The Decision further acknowledges the public interest benefits to providing CMRS carriers with access to nondiscriminatory pole attachments, including increased service reliability, greater geographic coverage, faster broadband, and enhanced public safety.  Finally, the Decision concludes that the Electric IOU’s argument that a rulemaking is unnecessary because CMRS carriers have successfully negotiated pole-attachment agreements with electric utilities is unpersuasive because state-level regulation is more appropriate than individualized agreements. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:
 
HELD ITEMS
 
Commission Positions on Utility-Related Legislation (Item 37, all but 37u held until 5/15/14) – This item would address the Commission’s positions on relevant Legislation.  Only sub-issue 37u was addressed, which articulated the Commission’s position on a Renewable Portfolio Standard bill.
 
Proposed Decision Addressing Cebridge’s Failure to Obtain Commission Approval for Transfer of Control (Item 12, held until 5/15/14) – This Proposed Decision would penalize 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 the transfer of control as required by Section 854(a).
 
The Proposed Decision would conclude that the severity of the offense is higher in light of the fact that Cebridge’s 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 Proposed Decision explains that the size of the penalty is appropriate in order to prevent further harm to the regulatory process. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:
 
Boomerang Wireless, LLC’s Request for ETC Designation (Item 4, held until 5/15/14) – This Draft Resolution would conditionally designate Boomerang Wireless, LLC (“Boomerang”) as an Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (“ETC”) to provide federally-supported wireless Lifeline service in the Uniform Regulatory Framework carrier service territories excluding the Small Local Exchange Carriers’ service areas. 
 
A copy of the Draft Resolution underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Cybernet’s Request to Extend its CPCN Authority (Item 23, held until 5/15/14) – The Proposed Decision would grant Cybernet Communications, Inc.’s (“Cybernet”) request to expand its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (“CPCN”) authority to provide full facilities-based local exchange telecommunications services and interexchange service in California.  Cybernet was previously authorized to provide resold competitive local exchange service throughout the service territories of Pacific Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T California (“AT&T”), Verizon California Inc. (“Verizon”), Citizens Telecommunications Company of California, Inc. d/b/a Frontier Communications of California (“Citizens”), and SureWest Telephone (“SureWest”). 
 
The Proposed Decision would conclude that CyberNet’s proposed construction activities would fall within classes of projects that are exempt from CEQA.  Specifically, CyberNet proposes to install fiber optic cable and related equipment in existing conduits and existing buildings and infrastructure.  In light of these proposed projects, the Proposed Decision would grant Cybernet’s request for an expedited review of its projects upon identifying specific sites upon which it would plan construction.  The Proposed Decision would specify that CyberNet should not perform any full facilities-based construction activities without first obtaining appropriate authority from the Energy Division or authorization by the Commission after the requisite environmental review.  The Proposed Decision would further find that CyberNet meets the financial and technical qualifications to support the approval of its application. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:
 
Proposed Decision Addressing Presiding Officer’s Decision Imposing $19 Million Fine on Telseven (Item 35, held until 5/15/14) – This Decision addresses the appeal of a Presiding Officer’s Decision issued in December 2013 that found that TeleSeven LLC, Calling 10 LLC dba California Calling 10, and Patrick Hines were responsible for unauthorized charges to California consumers.  The Presiding Officer’s Decision also issued a $19 million fine for the violations.  Appeals were submitted by Patrick Hines and the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and this Decision addresses one or both of these appeals. 
 
COMMISSIONER REPORTS

 
Commissioner Sandoval Report on Visits to Small LEC Territories and CHCF-A Public Participation Hearings – Commissioner Sandoval provided an extensive report regarding her recent visits to Oakhurst, North Fork, Jackson, Pine Grove, Hornitos, and other rural telephone company areas in connection with the Public Participation Hearings in the CHCF-A proceeding.  Her remarks were provided with reference to a series of slides in the attached PowerPoint presentation (starting about halfway down):  http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/26903297-702D-4E5D-8733-8E8EEF61104F/0/PowerPointforthe5114Meeting.pdf 
 
Commissioner Sandoval Participation in North Coast County Broadband Consortium Conference – Commissioner Sandoval also noted her attendance at a conference in Red Bluff hosted by the North Coast County Broadband Consortium. 
 
Commissioner Sandoval to Visit Yurok Nation, Which Has Recently Received Telephone Service – Commissioner Sandoval noted that she will be going to the Yurok nation next week in the northern coastal area of California to commemorate the delivery of phone service to that area.  According to Sandoval, the residents in that area made their first phone call this past week.
 
Commissioner Picker Suggestion to Have Overarching Safety Policy for the Commission Expressed in General Order – Commissioner Picker has engaged in various discussions with staff regarding the safety practices for the Commission and its regulatory policies overall, and he would like to see the Commission articulate a safety policy in a generic general order.  He will be following up with the Executive Director to work on this issue. 
 
 

Linked Attorney(s)

Back To Top