HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today adopted a joint motion resolving the Joint Petition by Verizon Pennsylvania LLC and Verizon North LLC (collectively Verizon) to declare as competitive basic local exchange service offered by Verizon within certain wire centers in their Philadelphia, Erie, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown and York service regions.
The Commission voted 3-2 on a joint motion by PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson and Vice Chairman John F. Coleman Jr. to declare basic local exchange service competitive in 153 of Verizon’s 504 wire centers in Pennsylvania, encompassing the most urban areas of Pennsylvania. The joint motion also partially grants Verizon’s request to waive certain Commission regulations related to Chapters 63 and Chapter 64, pending data collection and a rulemaking to address changes in the PUC’s regulations on a permanent and industry-wide basis. The length of the waiver period is 5 years.
“Today’s decision is an important step towards modernizing how we regulate telecommunications in Pennsylvania,” Chairman Powelson and Vice Chairman Coleman wrote in their Joint Motion. “The telecommunications marketplace is a dynamic and fast changing segment of both the Pennsylvania and national economies. As the record in this case shows, the communications options for today’s consumers have expanded beyond traditional voice-only service offered by incumbent carriers to include a variety of new service options and providers. With the proliferation of service bundles and the rising popularity of both wireline and wireless providers offering competing products and services, consumers now have an array of options to meet their communications needs. We believe the Commission’s regulation of basic local exchange service should reflect these market developments.”
Commissioner James H. Cawley issued a dissenting statement.
Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer issued a statement.
Commissioner Gladys M. Brown also issued a dissenting statement.
In approving today’s motion, the PUC permits basic local exchange service to be classified as competitive in certain wire centers This classification provides Verizon with pricing flexibility over the service and the ability to de-tariff the service as permitted under Chapter 30 of the Public Utility Code. However, the Commission’s Title 66 authority is retained for basic local exchange service in competitive wire centers, including the ordering, installation, restoration, and discontinuation of the service. Moreover, in accordance with Chapter 30, Verizon will be required to maintain price lists for its de-tariffed basic local exchange service in competitive wire centers.
Additionally, “the Commission is maintaining certain consumer protections that we believe are necessary as we continue with the transition of basic local exchange service to a competitive service,” according to the joint motion of Chairman Powelson and Vice Chairman Coleman.
The ALJ issued an Order on Jan.16, 2015, certifying the record to the Commission for review.
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Docket Nos. P-2014-2446303 and P-2014-2446304