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On February 15, 2007, the Commission held its regularly-scheduled agenda meeting. At the time of the meeting, former Commissioner Brown’s replacement had not been selected by the governor, so the meeting was conducted with only four Commissioners. As with each of the meetings since the new year, the meeting was brief, and the matters under discussion generated little overt controversy. The Commission approved the decision resolving VNXX issues for Small LECs, and adopted modifications to General Order 95 addressing wireless pole attachments.


REGULAR AND CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS

  • Decision Reached Regarding Intercarrier Compensation of VNXX Traffic Transported over Small LEC Networks (Item 48, adopted on consent agenda) — This decision provides further clarity regarding the proper intercarrier compensation treatment of Virtual NXX traffic originated on Small LEC networks. This issue has been percolating around the Commission since 1996, when Pac-West filed a complaint case against Evans Telephone and Volcano Telephone alleging that those companies had failed to properly route VNXX calls originating in their service territories. Since then, the issue has been addressed in a number of different contexts. For larger carriers, the Commission resolved the VNXX compensation issues in D.99-09-029. However, the analysis of VNXX in the Small LEC context was deferred to the local competition proceeding for later consideration.

    This decision concludes that where Small LECs are indirectly connected with a CLEC who is utilizing a VNXX arrangement, Small LECs are responsible for transport to the point of interconnection with the intervening ILEC. However, Small LECs do not have to pay for the transport to the CLEC’s point of prescence with the ILEC. Further, the decision finds that Small LECs are not obligated to pay reciprocal compensation as presented in VNXX CLECs’ existing tariffs. Rather, Small LECs must negotiate with VNXX carriers to establish a mutually agreeable rate for exchanging VNXX traffic. If a Small LEC fails to negotiate, the CLEC tariff rates will apply as a default.

  • Revisions to General Order 95 Adopted (Items 40, 40a, 40b; 40a adopted 4-0) — This decision endorses a settlement regarding changes to General Order 95, the G.O. governing wireless attachments on utility poles and towards. For several months, the Commission has been evaluating whether the settlement provided sufficient safety protections for utility workers who may come into contact with wireless pole attachments. Ultimately, Commissioner Chong modified her alternate decision in a manner that satisfied the four Commissioners. In addition to approving the settlement, the Chong alternate requires that all owners and operators of wireless pole attachments on poles subject to Commission jurisdiction submit an annual report describing each pole attachment “that is not covered by the settlement agreement or an alternative license agreement with terms at least as strict as those set forth in Appendix 2 of this decision.”

    Commissioner Chong introduced this item, noting that the settlement had garnered the support of a wide variety of parties. Commissioners Peevey and Grueneich praised Chong for her willingness to compromise to reach a consensus. The matter passed unanimously without extensive discussion.

  • Section 271 Phase of OANAD Proceeding Closed (Item 6, adopted on consent agenda) — This decision closes the phase of the Open Access Network Architecture Development proceeding that examined AT&T’s request to enter the intrastate long distance market, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. Section 271. AT&T’s application under Section 271 was approved on December 30, 2002, thereby satisfying the original purpose of the proceeding. No party objected to the closure of this proceeding in response to a March 2006 ALJ ruling requesting comments on a possible closure.


SIGNIFICANT HELD AND WITHDRAWN ITEMS

  • Decision Implementing Statewide Video Franchising Program (Item 50, Held by Staff until 3/1) — In late 2006, the Commission opened a rulemaking to implement the Digital Infrastructure Video Competition Act of 2006 (R.06-10-005). DIVCA makes the Commission the sole administrator of statewide video franchises. A proposed decision and associated general order have been released adopting specific application procedures and other requirements associated with the video franchising process. Opening and reply comments have been filed on that proposal, and the Commission is considering final revisions to the general order and decision based on those comments.

  • Decision Adopting Settlement Agreement Regarding AT&T Collocation Rates (Item 30, Held by Staff until 3/1) — Following a flurry of activity in the Open Access Network Architecture Development proceeding regarding the rates that AT&T charges to CLECs for collocation, the parties have reached a settlement. The settlement would make the AT&T interim collocation rates “permanent,” which would obviate any concern about a “true up.” After a three year period, collocation rates would revert to an alternate set of rates, which CLECs would “opt into” at any time prior to the expiration of three years. If adopted, the decision would endorse the settlement agreement as between AT&T and the CLECs. This decision would have no impact on Verizon’s collocation rates.

  • Decision Addressing Alleged Impermissible Ex Parte Contacts by Cox and AT&T Representatives (Item 49, Held by Bohn until 3/1) – This decision would penalize both Cox and AT&T for allegedly engaging in impermissible ex parte contacts with Commissioner advisors with respect to an ongoing adjudicatory matter. These allegations of improper contacts stem from a complaint case by UCAN against Cox and AT&T for supposed violations of the 911 warmline obligations under Public Utilities Code Section 2883. In June 2006, AT&T and Cox brought a motion to stay that complaint case, and a related motion to open a generalized investigation of warmline issues in the Commission’s local competition docket. Ultimately, both motions were rejected on their merits, and the complaint cases continued on.

  • Decision Denying CPCN to Telecom House Incorporated (Item 18, Held by staff until 3/15) — This decision would reject Telecom House’s application to expand its resold interexchange CPCN to also include resold local exchange service, based on findings that the carrier failed to timely submit required reports under the terms of its existing CPCN. This decision would also direct the Commission to revoke Telecom House’s existing CPCN if the carrier cannot resolve discrepancies regarding its income and user fee submissions for prior periods.


NOTES AND REPORTS

  • Commission Recognizes Problems with ULTS Certification / Verification Program — Commissioner Grueneich reported on some of the problems that the Commission and carriers are experiencing in implementing the FCC’s Lifeline / Linkup Order. In July 2006, the Commission rolled out a new set of procedures for certifying and verifying the eligibility of prospective ULTS customers, including the use of a third-party administrator to confirm ULTS eligibility. Over the ensuing six months, carriers and customer have encountered significant problems with the verification and certification processes. This led to the suspension of the verification process in November 2006. Commissioner Grueneich indicated that efforts are ongoing to work with carriers and the third-party administrator to resolve the issues, and that the Commission hopes to reinstate the verification process later in the year.

  • Commissioner Peevey Honored by Commonwealth Club for Environmental Leadership — In a brief Commissioner report, Commissioner Grueneich noted that the Commonwealth Club will honor President Peevey with the club’s “Distinguished Citizen Award.” This year, the club will be presenting that award to various individuals and organizations who have been “leading the movement towards environmentally sound energy solutions.”

  • Oakland Bill Clinic to be Held March 7, 2007 — As part of the consumer protection initiative, the Commission will be holding “bill clinics” in six separate locations throughout the state. These bill clinics will give carriers an opportunity to meet with customers to resolve billing and other issues related to utility service. The first of these bill clinics will be held on March 7, 2007 in Oakland, near the Fruitvale BART station. Other bill clinics are planned for San Bernardino, San Ysidro, Sacramento, and Carson.

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