America W2i Digital. California Public Utilities Commission Telecommunications Division Jack Leutza, Director October 11, 2005

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1 Presentation for North America W2i Digital Cities Convention (West) California Public Utilities Commission Telecommunications Division Jack Leutza, Director October 11, 2005

2 CPUC Regulatory Concerns in the Digital Communications Age Consumer Protection Consumer Choice Universal Service Numbering Conservation Public Safety

3 Consumer Protection Issues Question: Will increasing market forces provide consumers with adequate protections or will there still be a regulatory oversight role? Consumer Expectations Fair resolution of billing disputes Privacy protections Slamming and cramming prohibitions Adequate disclosure of service terms and conditions Proper notice of service discontinuance or changes

4 Consumer Choice/Access Issues Question: How do we handle the blending of regulated telecommunication services with nonregulated services? Consumers don t recognize the distinction between information and telecommunications services. There are many ways that a consumer uses communications services: Personal Computers Entertainment Devices Consumer Electronics Data & Voice Networks

5 Digital Convergence Question: To what degree do we streamline or adjust regulation to address new technologies/platforms? Intermodal competition drives down costs and provides consumers with more choices. State regulatory oversight of competing broadband platforms should be technology neutral. Unnecessary regulation should be eliminated No winners and losers through regulation

6 CPUC Consumer Choice Policy Stand Alone DSL Consumers should not be required to have to purchase traditional phone service as a condition of getting high-speed DSL Internet service from the same provider. Internet Freedom Consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice, run applications and attach devices using their broadband connection.

7 Universal Service Issues Question: With the introduction/convergence of new telecommunication technologies, how do we ensure access to all Californians? Five programs provide access to basic phone service to California consumers who are low-income, disabled, or live in high-cost areas. Currently funded by end-user surcharges. As voice service migrates off traditional and onto Internet based networks, policy-makers will have to redefine what universal service is and identify new funding mechanisms. Consideration is being given to a flat rate fee per telephone number, regardless of type of service.

8 Telephone Number Resource Issues Question: What role do we play in promoting telephone number conservation to prevent telephone number abuses (e.g. hoarding) and provide for a more stable area code map for customers? Current rules, orders and guidelines are designed for traditional telecommunications carriers. Utilization, forecasting and reporting variances among providers can promote abuses. Uneven compliance with porting rules impacts customers ability to change carriers.

9 Public Safety Issues Question: What role does the state has to ensure that public safety rules are being adhered to? CALEA FCC requires broadband and Internet voice companies to provide law enforcement and public safety access by early E911 Internet providers must comply with FCC requirements by October 31, Disaster Preparedness.

10 SB1563 Broadband Report Issued May 2005 Broadband is widely deployed in California. Infrastructure is not a barrier California leads the nation. Number of broadband lines Share of the national market Penetration rate (lines/100 persons) ECISION/46109.doc.

11 Broadband Service Challenges in California Rural communities, disabled consumers and low income consumers have lower levels of broadband access and usage: All consumers should have a choice of affordable options for access to broadband services. Targeted tax incentives and infrastructure grants for broadband facilities may encourage deployment to and use by underserved communities.

12 Other Broadband Report Recommendations Right of Way Process- Reform the process for obtaining Rights of Way (ROW) permits from state agencies and local governments for construction of broadband infrastructure. This process is cited as one of the most significant barriers to deployment. Possible options include: Standardize the ROW process. Limit ROW permit fees. Provide effective dispute resolution.

13 Other Broadband Report Recommendations (cont.) CEQA Process Streamline the California Environmental Quality Act review process for broadband projects and eliminate inconsistencies in it application. Possible options include: Review and revise the scope of the CEQA proceeding currently before the CPUC to address process and inconsistencies. Support legislation that would resolve process and inconsistency issues.

14 Broadband Related CPUC Proceedings Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) To encourage BPL deployment in a manner that does not harm ratepayers, promotes accessibility to broadband networks and contributes to California s competitive broadband market. Significantly, the proposal reaffirms that advanced telecommunications services such as broadband are not subject to state regulatory authority.

15 Broadband Related Legislation Senate Bill 909 Senator Escutia Last amended September 8, Will be taken up again in January, Would establish the California Broadband Access Council in State Government to develop a broadband access strategy to promote the ubiquitous use of high-speed Internet communications and computing technology by all Californians consistent with specified principles.

16 SB 909 Senator Escutia (cont.) Requires that existing programs, laws, and policies be reviewed and updated to promote high-speed Internet access and utilization. Such programs, laws and policies include those that promote or impede the use of high-speed internet access and computing technology, or provide incentives or disincentives for investment technology platforms capable of providing high-speed Internet access and computing technology.

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