Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

07/12/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2018 12:59

PUC Seeks Comment on Potential Changes to Telecommunications Regulations

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on potential changes to the regulations governing Basic Stand-alone Local Telephone Service, including in competitive wire centers as first addressed by the Commission in its Reclassification Order of March 4, 2015 (Reclassification Order) - Docket Nos. P-2014-2446303 and P-2014-2446304.

The Commission voted 5-0 to solicit public input in four main areas regarding the PUC's Chapter 63 and Chapter 64 Regulations in Title 52 of the Pennsylvania Code:

  • Whether to make waivers that were previously granted to Verizon permanent in any wire center currently classified as competitive or that may be classified as competitive in the future;
  • Whether there are any obsolete or outdated regulations in noncompetitive wire centers that should be modified or eliminated;
  • Whether to create separate chapters in our regulations for competitive versus noncompetitive wire centers; and
  • Whether there are any reasonable alternative regulations or regulatory structures or schemes, other than what is being proposed in the Advance Notice, that the Commission should consider.

As part of the regulated telecommunications network overseen by the PUC, a wire center is a telecommunications carrier's network facility in a local area which connects subscriber lines in what is referred to as the 'local loop' or 'last mile.' The upcoming regulatory review will address both retail services in those wire centers determined to be competitive under Chapter 30, as well as those wire centers that will remain noncompetitive.

The Commission first issued the Reclassification Order in response to a Petition by Verizon Pennsylvania LLC and Verizon North LLC (collectively Verizon), in which it determined that Verizon's basic local exchange service is competitive in 153 wire centers in seven geographical areas within the Commonwealth served by Verizon.

In determining that enough competition exists in these wire centers from other voice service providers - including competitive local exchange carriers, cable telephony providers and wireless carriers - the PUC granted Verizon a five-year waiver of certain specific regulations, pending data collection and completion of a rulemaking to address the status of these chapters for noncompetitive and competitive services on a permanent and industry-wide basis.

Interested parties may submit comments up to 60 days from the date the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and reply comments 30 days thereafter, by providing written submissions to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Attn: Secretary, P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265. Initial and reply comments may also be filed electronically through the PUC's e-File System.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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Docket No.: L-2018-3001391