AT&T and Comcast blew off demands for information about broadband pricing from California Public Utilities Commission staff, so now the public advocates office, which requested the data, is asking the commission to force the companies to comply and to acknowledge their legal responsibility to fully answer questions about service, safety and other issues.
The PAO sent a detailed questionnaire to Internet service providers in California, including telephone companies and cable operators, during an ongoing inquiry into the affordability of broadband and other essential utility services in California. According to the “motion to compel responses to data requests” filed by the PAO, Charter Communications and Cox answered, but Comcast and AT&T lawyered up (the filing doesn’t mention Frontier Communications, the other member of California’s Big Five ISP club).
Although AT&T and Comcast provided some information (see below), the bulk of their responses boiled down to you people don’t have any jurisdiction over broadband, but if you’re really interested, check out our website.
The jurisdiction question was answered, if not completely settled, by a ruling from Clifford Rechtschaffen, the commissioner who is leading the inquiry. He took the uncommon step of issuing a ruling that asserted “a significant role for the commission” in managing California’s broadband ecosystem.
Besides being dismissive, answering a data request with a link to a sales-focused website isn’t enlightening and could be dangerous, according to the filing…
The presentation of pricing on the AT&T website does not provide all relevant combinations of service bundles and speeds. Websites also produce selective company information that are in no way responsive to the data requests or comparable to other communication companies’ information. For instance: What is the lowest price for the user-defined combination of services at the user-defined speed across all communication companies?…
Telecommunication companies continue to frustrate the Public Advocates Office’s efforts to understand their continually evolving operational landscape and how it affects California consumers, even on safety matters.
There’s no particular timeline for when – if – action will be taken on the PAO’s motion.