The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Briefing.
The FCC has directed certain cable operators to respond to a price survey questionnaire designed to solicit information about the rates for basic service, cable programming service, and equipment used to receive such services. The survey sample includes a random sample of cable operators serving communities where the FCC has granted a petition for effective competition, and a random sample of operators serving other communities nationwide. Data submitted in response to the survey will be made available to the public in aggregate form as averages representing segments of the industry. Cable operators subject to the price survey requirement must complete and file the price survey questionnaire no later than December 7, 2015.
New York and Pennsylvania
In September 2015, the Communications Workers of America filed letters with telephone regulators in six states and Washington, DC, calling for investigations into the deterioration of Verizon’s copper landline networks. The CWA calls for each Commission to investigation the adequacy, safety, efficiency, and reasonableness of Verizon’s service and facilities in its non- FiOS service areas. The CWA noted that Verizon told the FCC that it had spent $200 million over the last seven years to maintain its copper landline network in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
In a letter to the New York PSC, the CWA said that the Verizon copper network “covers literally tens of millions of customers in eight states – New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, plus Washington, D.C., and parts of California, Texas, and Florida.” The CWA said that it supports Verizon’s FiOS expansion. “But where Verizon has refused to deploy its all-fiber FiOS network, Verizon has the statutory obligation to maintain its copper plant to provide safe, reliable service.”
The CWA told the Pennsylvania PUC that “There is substantial evidence that Verizon is neglecting of its copper network in the Commonwealth.” In addition it said “evidence that Verizon is not adequately maintaining its copper network is found in the FCC filings by wholesale customers alleging that Verizon is neglecting leased copper facilities.”
In a response to the NY PSC, Verizon points out that the “CWA’s substantive and procedural arguments are well within the broad scope of the matters already being considered in Case 14-C-0370 (the Commission’s ongoing study of telecommunications in New York), and therefore should be addressed through formal comments filed in that proceeding.” Verizon said that it will address the CWA “allegations” in its October 23 comments in Case 14-C-0370. It did however address the issue of the $200 million figure reported to the FCC. Verizon said that that figure was “not intended to and does not describe all of the expenditures made by Verizon companies on their copper networks. Rather, it includes only one specific category of capital investments, and does not include any of expenses incurred in connection with the copper network.”