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On October 2, 2014 the Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting.  No telecommunications items were addressed on the regular agenda, and another hold was placed on the item that would authorize the Communications Division to submit comments to the FCC on the open internet proposed rulemaking.  On the consent agenda, two telecommunication companies were granted CPCN authority to offer interexchange services in California.  These and other items of interest are discussed in further detail below.  
 
CONSENT AGENDA
 
Telna Granted a CPCN to Provide Resold Interexchange Service (Item 16, approved on consent) – This Decision grants Telecom North America, Inc., d/b/a Telna, Inc. (“Telna”) a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to provide resold interexchange service throughout California as a Non-Dominant Interexchange Carrier.  Telna is a Nevada based corporation, and is a telephone corporation and a public utility subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction.
 
The Decision determines that Telna meets the environmental, financial, and technical qualifications necessary to be granted a CPCN.  Since Telna will be a reseller of interexchange services and will not be constructing any facilities, the Decision finds that Telna will not have an adverse impact on the environment.  However, the Decision cautions that if Telna seeks to construct facilities in the future, it must file for additional authority and submit to any necessary CEQA reviews.  The Decision also finds that Telna also meets the necessary financial qualifications, and has demonstrated that it has sufficient funding that is reasonably liquid and available to meet its start-up expenses. 
 
The Decision also concludes that Telna meets the required technical qualifications, despite having its CPCN authority revoked in the past.  The Decision observes that Telna properly disclosed in its application that its CPCN authority was previously revoked for failing to obtain a performance bond, and explains that Telna was initially unaware that its authority had been revoked and had continued to submit its surcharges and fees to the Commission.  The Decision also notes that when Telna discovered that its authority had been revoked, Telna took immediate action to meet its regulatory compliance obligations.  As a result, the Decision concludes that Telna meets the technical qualifications necessary to be granted a CPCN.
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link

 
Metro Star Granted a CPCN to Provide Resold Interexchange Service (Item 19, approved on consent) – This Decision grants Metro Star Networks, Inc. (“Metro Star”) a certificate of public convenience and necessity (“CPCN”) to provide limited facilities-based interexchange service in California.
 
Metro Star proposes to provide local interexchange services to business and residential customers via interconnection with AT&T pursuant to the terms of AT&T’s standard Interconnection Agreement through Metro Star-owned equipment co-located in AT&T central offices. 
 
The Decision confirms that Metro Star’s CEO has attested that Metro Star is a common carrier that is eligible to interconnect with the public switched telephone networks, and therefore will operate as a telephone corporation that will obey the Public Utilities Code and all of the Commission’s rules, decisions, and orders applicable to telephone corporations.  The Decision further concludes that a Proponent’s Environmental Assessment (“PEA”) is not required because Metro Star states that it will not be constructing any new facilities to provide the services for which it seeks authority.  In addition, the Decision concludes that Metro Star meets the environmental, financial, and technical qualifications required to be granted a CPCN. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link
 
Statutory Deadline Extended to Resolve Investigation into Comcast’s Unauthorized Disclosure of Unlisted Subscribers’ Personal Information (Item 18, approved on consent) – This Decision extends the statutory deadline from October 3, 2014 to October 3, 2015 for the Commission to complete its investigation into Comcast Phone of California, LLC and its related entities (collectively “Comcast”) to determine whether Comcast violated laws, rules, and regulations through its unauthorized disclosure and publication of Comcast subscribers’ unlisted names, telephone numbers, and addresses. 
 
The Decision explains that the investigation has been very active, and that two prehearing conferences and three-days of evidentiary hearings have been held.  As a result of the ongoing nature of the proceeding, the Decision concludes that additional time is necessary to resolve this matter and an extension of the statutory deadline is appropriate. 
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item is available at the following link:  
  
HELD ITEMS
 
Request by Staff to File Reply Comments to the FCC on an Open Internet (Item 38, held by Commissioner Peterman) – In this item, the Communications Division and Legal Division requests authority to submit comments to the FCC in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), which set forth proposals to “ensure that the Internet remains open” (“Open Internet NPRM”).  During the last Commission meeting, President Peevey issued placed a hold on this item.  The deadline for filing opening comments has since passed, and this item has been modified by staff to request authority to file reply comments.
 
The Open Internet NPRM was issued after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated the FCC’s net neutrality rules adopted in its 2010 Open Internet Order on the basis that the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules imposed per se common carrier obligations on broadband services, which the FCC has classified as an information service.
 
The Communications Division proposed recommendations addressing the following issues: 
 
(A) The Transparency Rule.  CD proposed the following suggestions: (1) ISPs specifically tailor disclosure to meet the needs of edge providers and consumers; (2) support for the Open Internet Advisory Committee’s proposal to require the industry to use a standardize label for Internet service; (3) support the FCC’s proposal to require broadband providers to disclose in a timely manner to consumers, edge providers, and the public when they make changes to their network practices as well as any instances of blocking, throttling, and pay-for-priority arrangements; and (4) the CPUC would report to the FCC about CalSpeed application that is used by California consumers to measure broadband upload and download speeds. 
 
(B) No-Blocking Rule.  CD recommended that the Commission support a No-Blocking Rule, but specified that an effective No-Blocking Rule would require reclassifying broadband as a common carrier service.  Alternatively, should the Commission not support reclassification of broadband services, CD recommended that the Commission ask the FCC to include a requirement that ISPs offer a “minimum level of service” based on “an objective, evolving ‘reasonable person’ standard.”  This “minimum level of service” would operate in conjunction with the “No Commercially Unreasonable Practices” discussed below in (D).  
 
(C) Treatment of Mobile Internet Access Service.  CD recommended that the Commission submit comments supporting the FCC adoption of a No-Blocking rule for mobile broadband that would apply to all applications that compete with the mobile broadband Internet access provider’s other services, unless doing so is technically infeasible. 
 
(D) No Commercially Unreasonable Practices.  Should the Commission support reclassification, CD recommended that the Commission oppose a “commercially reasonable” standard in favor of a “no unreasonable discrimination” standard consistent with Title II of the Communications Act.  In the alternative, if the Commission did not support reclassification, CD recommended that the Commission support the FCC’s proposed “commercially reasonable” standard.
 
(E) Forbearance should the FCC reclassify broadband Internet services.  If the Commission supported reclassification, CD would further recommend that the FCC forbear from many common carrier regulations in order to avoid onerous and burdensome regulations on broadband Internet access, including rate regulating. 
 
A copy of the Staff’s memorandum is available at the following link
  
UCAN’s Request for Intervenor Compensation in the AT&T and T-Mobile Acquisition Proceeding (Item 32, held by staff) – This Proposed Decision would grant $11,339.75 in intervenor compensation to the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (“UCAN”) for its contribution to D.12-08-025, which dismissed the Commission’s investigation into the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) by AT&T Inc. (“AT&T”).  The investigation was deemed moot by D.12-08-025 based on the withdrawal of the merger application by AT&T and T-Mobile at the FCC.  Notwithstanding the dismissal of the investigation, the Proposed Decision would find that UCAN’s participation in the investigative proceeding constituted “substantial contribution” and would have produced benefits for ratepayers had the merger application had not been withdrawn.  Therefore, the Proposed Decision would conclude that the majority of UCAN’s claimed costs and expenses would be reasonable.
 
A copy of the Proposed Decision underlying this item available at the following link:  
  
LEGISLATIVE WRAP-UP
 
Lynn Sadler of the Office of Governmental Affairs (“OGA”) presented this year’s “Legislative Wrap-Up.”  In her initial overview she explained that 133 bills were formally tracked by the OGA, 37 bills were formally analyzed, and positions were taken on a total of 8 bills this year. 
 
Ms. Sadler highlighted several safety bills, including two bills related Transportation Network Companies (“TNCs”) like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.  These bills included AB 612 (Nazarian) and AB 2293 (Bonilla).  AB 612 would have required more exhaustive background checks for TNC drivers and failed in the Assembly Transportation Committee.  AB 2293 (Bonilla) codifies TNC regulation in the Public Utilities Code and includes various insurance requirements.  This bill was signed by the Governor on September 17, 2014.
 
Ms. Sadler also observed that this was a significant year for telecommunications legislation, explaining that both the CHCF-A and CHCF-B programs were extended until January 1, 2019.  She noted that AB 1693 (Perea), which would have required the CPUC to issue a final decision on a general rate case for small independent telephone corporations within a specified timeframe was vetoed with direction to the Commission to address carrier concerns.  She also announced that AB 1717 (Perea), which the Commission opposed unless amended, was signed by the Governor after a four year effort by CTIA – the Wireless Association.  This bill will mandate a point-of-sale mechanism to collect surcharges for prepaid cellular phones.
 
Commissioner Florio commented that the Commission should pay close attention AB 1717 to understand why it was able to succeed this year, despite being vetoed several times in the past. 
 
COMMISSIONER REPORTS
 
Commissioner Sandoval reported on several recent telecommunications-related events that she has attended or participated in, including the water-energy-communications workshop that allowed dozens of people from a variety of sectors to discuss the role of communications and the internet as a tool for water and energy conservation efforts.  She also announced that she had testified before Congresswoman Matsui regarding the open internet, and noted that the hearing was attended by FCC Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel.  In her testimony, she highlighted her concern with regarding critical infrastructures that depend on an open internet to ensure communications with the public.  In addition, she noted her recent attendance at a public meeting regarding the FCC’s rural broadband experiments, and expressed her excitement over the number of entities that expressed an interest in the program.  She explained that the Commission has recently passed a resolution allowing rural broadband experiment recipients to receive a 10% credit from the CASF program, which is specifically intended to make California applicants more competitive.  She reflected that it is important for California to maximize federal funding and to continuously pursue internet deployment efforts. 
 
In a non-telecommunications matter, Commissioner Sandoval announced that Yale University has recently re-established a scholarship in her name, and that she looked forward to working with Yale and the scholarship program going forward. 
 
 

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