Confirmed: bill to scrap CPUC is scrapped instead

28 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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The puzzle pieces are starting to move, as a plan announced yesterday to reorganise utility regulation in California takes shape. Assembly constitutional amendment 11 was taken off the senate’s energy, utilities and communications committee’s agenda yesterday, and a second hearing, by the senate’s elections and constitutional amendments committee, was cancelled this morning.

ACA 11 would have put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot, asking voters whether they want to end the special, and largely independent, status granted to the California Public Utilities Commission.… More

Bills to scrap local cell site review and California Public Utilities Commission delayed

22 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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Don’t have to look far to find a horse in Sacramento.

Afternoon update: There’s a growing consensus that AB 2788 is dead, rather than just delayed. Resurrection is always possible while the legislature is in session, though. We’ll know its status for sure, at least its current status, by Monday, if not before.

A proposal to allow mobile carriers to install cell sites pretty much anywhere they want – including on publicly owned property – without meaningful review by local government has been bumped by a week.… More

Assembly votes to write the CPUC out of the California constitution

4 June 2016 by Steve Blum
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It’ll be up to the California senate to decide whether or not to put the future of the California Public Utilities Commission on the November general election ballot. The assembly approved assembly constitutional amendment 11 on Thursday. If it gets on the ballot and voters approve it, the CPUC would lose its special constitutional status as an independent agency.

The state legislature would then have to decide how utilities – energy, telecoms, water and transportation – will be regulated in California.… More

Unanimous vote to bring California utility regulation back to Sacramento

31 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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The California assembly has backed off from giving AT&T a free pass to yank out wireline service in less lucrative rural and inner city communities, but it’s moving ahead with a plan to completely re-write the way telecommunications and other utilities are regulated.

On the same day it put AT&T’s copper killer bill on what appears to be terminal hold, the assembly appropriations committee unanimously approved a constitutional amendment that would, in effect, turn utility regulation into just another state function, carried out by departments answerable to the legislature and the governor.… More

Decisions this week on key California broadband bills

23 May 2016 by Steve Blum
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It all comes down to the wire.

With deadlines looming this week and next, broadband-related bills are queued up in Sacramento, awaiting decisions. The committee to watch is the assembly appropriations committee, which has to vote on a constitutional amendment to disband the California Public Utilities Commission and on AT&T’s attempt to get out of the rural wireline broadband and phone business.

AT&T’s copper killer bill – assembly bill 2395 – is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, while the CPUC measure – assembly constitutional amendment 11 – is sitting in a stack of bills that might or might not come to a vote.… More

The week AT&T, cable lobbyists ran up the score in Sacramento

25 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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It could have been a winning week (or two) for broadband infrastructure advocates in the California capitol, but instead last week turned into a victory march for AT&T and cable lobbyists as they fought to further entrench the cosy monopoly/duopoly conditions that underpin their business models. I’ve been blogging more or less on a play by play basis, but I think it’d be helpful to try to pull it briefly together.

It comes down to four key assembly bills, all of which landed in the assembly utilities and commerce committee over the past couple of weeks:

AB 1758 – an effort by Santa Cruz democrat Mark Stone to raise California’s broadband standard to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds, and put $350 million into the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) for infrastructure upgrade subsidies and a variety of other programs.… More

CPUC's future could be in the hands of California voters

21 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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It helps to be cute when you’re an endangered species.

The California Public Utilities Commission is one step closer to extinction, at least in its current form. The assembly utilities and commerce commerce overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment yesterday that would strip the CPUC of its special, independent status under the California constitution and give the legislature the job of deciding how utilities of would be regulated, or not.

Support for the bill – assembly constitutional amendment 11 – is bipartisan, with democrats and republicans signed up as co-authors.… More