HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Commission’s telecommunications regulations in Chapters 53, 63 and 64 in Title 52 of the Pennsylvania Code governing regulated telecommunications public utilities and services.
The Commission voted 4-0 to adopt a motion by Vice Chairman David W. Sweet that seeks to:
• Identify common interests and concerns;
• Reasonably balance competing interests;
• Craft amendments that acknowledge today’s telecommunications market but do not require or rely upon formal competitive analyses or designations under Chapter 30; and
• Propose modified regulations that are more equitable for the industry, sufficiently protective for consumers, and structurally feasible for both staff and the industry.
“Through these and other amendments, I strove to find the right balance between relieving utilities of existing burdens while retaining an adequate layer of consumer protection,” Sweet said in his motion. “While the telecommunications market has evolved, some issues, especially in matters involving service and safety, continue to warrant oversight as the Commission continues to discharge its statutory responsibilities under the Public Utility Code.”
In support of Thursday’s action, PUC Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille issued a statement welcoming not only revisions to current regulations but also additional public input in several specific areas of the proposed revisions.
This most recent action follows the PUC’s comprehensive review of public comments previously filed in response to the Commission’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 12, 2018. It is a further effort to afford relief to regulated telecommunications providers, acknowledging the existence in the telecommunications market of unregulated carriers like wireless and cable providers and that some regulations are simply outdated and could be modernized.
The Commission first addressed changes to its regulations as part of its Reclassification Order of March 4, 2015, in which, in response to a Petition by Verizon Pennsylvania LLC and Verizon North LLC (collectively Verizon), the Commission determined that Verizon’s basic local exchange service was competitive in 153 wire centers in seven geographical areas served by Verizon.
In making that determination, the PUC granted Verizon a five-year waiver of 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 in the current proceeding.
Interested parties may submit written comments referencing Docket No. L-2018-3001391 within 45 days of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and reply comments 30 days thereafter, to:
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Attn: Secretary
Commonwealth Keystone Building
400 North Street, 2nd Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Comments can also be filed electronically through the Commission’s eFiling System. Filing instructions may be found on the Commission’s website at: http://www.puc.pa.gov/filing_resources.aspx.
For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit www.puc.pa.gov.