Comcast wants to give up its campaign to compete with a small rural telephone company – a rural local exchange carrier (RLEC) – in a high end, new development outside of Fresno. After the California Public Utilities Commission decided to allow such wireline voice competition if the would be competitor serves the greater community and not just wealthy exurbanites, Comcast asked to withdraw its request for permission to go head to head with Ponderosa Telephone in the Tesoro Viejo development.… More
Cable companies and other “competitive local exchange carriers” (CLEC) will be able to offer telephone service in (mostly) rural areas of California formerly reserved for small, independent telephone companies. The California Public Utilities Commission voted on Thursday to open up rural local exchange carrier (RLEC) territories to wireline voice competition. There were no changes to the first draft of the new rules proposed by commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves last month.
That permission comes with much needed strings attached, Guzman Aceves said…
It’s a little of an ironic position for me knowing that many of the carriers that want to compete in these rural territories often are some of the major barriers of competition elsewhere.
One of the legacies of state and federal 20th century universal telephone service subsidy programs is an ecosystem of small, independent telephone companies, often owned by families that live in the isolated rural communities that they serve. A California Public Utilities Commission decision, proposed by commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves and due for a vote in August, would begin to allow modern competitors into that ecosystem.
These rural local exchange carriers (RLECs) – serve isolated communities and individual customers in often rugged and sparsely populated terrain that AT&T historically avoided.… More
Faster and higher quality broadband service will reach some rural Californians if cable companies and other “competitive local exchange carriers” (CLECs) are allowed to compete against rural telcos for phone customers, according to a proposed decision under consideration by the California Public Utilities Commission. Cable lobbyists and lawyers have been pushing for permission to pluck profitable customers from highly subsidised rural telcos – Small LECs, in the jargon – leaving taxpayers to pay an even higher tab to serve the rest.… More
Small telephone companies that serve rural Californians will face direct competition from cable operators and other wireline telecoms companies if the California Public Utilities Commission approves a draft decision posted for review on Monday. Authored by commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves, the proposed new rules would allow competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) to provide voice telephone service in territories that are reserved exclusively for heavily subsidised, small local exchange carriers (Small LECs).
Acknowledging that “wireline competition must be allowed in the service territories of the Small LECs as a matter of law”, the draft tries to balance the benefits of competition to consumers with the potential cost to taxpayers if cable companies skim off profitable neighborhoods, leaving Small LECs increasingly dependent on universal service subsidies to serve the rest.… More
A rousing and thoroughly disingenuous defence of telecommunications competition doesn’t appear to be enough for Comcast to get permission right now to cherry pick affluent households in Ponderosa Telephone Company’s territory. A pair of California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judges (ALJs) said in a ruling last Friday that even though allowing competitive telecoms companies into the protected service areas of California’s small, rural telcos should be considered on a case by case basis, those decisions should be made within a common framework.… More
Ponderosa Telephone shot back at Comcast’s claims that no harm would come from its proposed cherry picking of affluent households in a new, high end development outside of Fresno. In comments filed with the California Public Utilities Commission last week, Ponderosa made its case for denying Comcast permission to offer telephone service in its territory. The company argued that if the CPUC wants to change its current policy of protecting small rural telcos from competition, it should do so on a top level basis, and not on case by case requests from a major telecoms company.… More
Comcast’s sideways pleading for permission to compete against a subsidised rural telephone company demonstrates why it was wise to allow California’s ban on voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service regulation to expire. And why Comcast, along with Charter Communications, AT&T and Frontier Communications,
handed so much cash offered highly intellectual arguments to California legislators in their failed (so far) attempt to extend the ban.
Ponderosa Telephone Company offers service in the foothills and the Sierra generally north and east of Fresno.… More
Comcast took its best shot at explaining why it should be allowed to jump the queue and start competing against Ponderosa Telephone before the California Public Utilities Commission decides what the future will be for small, rural telephone companies. The answer: because the developer wants us and the Federal Communications Commission says we can.
The dispute centers on Tesoro Viejo, an upscale master planned community under construction in the foothills of Madera County. Comcast claims the developers offered Tesoro Viejo as a cherry ripe for picking, and it wants to oblige them.… More
The California Public Utilities Commission won’t jump the gun and give Comcast permission to compete directly with the Ponderosa Telephone Company. At least not yet. Comcast has to first explain why past CPUC decisions don’t apply to its request for permission to offer telephone service in Tesoro Viejo, an upscale master planned community of 5,200 homes in Madera County. Among other things, those rules protect highly subsidised rural telephone companies from competitors that want to cherry pick affluent customers in densely populated exurban developments, and ignore people in poorer and more sparsely populated communities.… More