RCA Seeking Comment Regarding Proposed Telecommunications Regulations
(Docket R-19-002).

Comments must be filed by 5 p.m. on January 17, 2020.  Reply comments must be filed by February 3, 2020.     

The RCA is considering wide-ranging changes in Title 3 of the Alaska Administrative Code to conform telecommunications regulations to the required statutory changes and regulatory exemptions enacted by Senate Bill 83 (Chapter 24 SLA 19).

According to the RCA's Order R-19-002(1), Chapter 24 SLA 19 created broad regulatory exemptions for public utilities that provide telecommunications services in Alaska. With the exception of inmate calling services, Chapter 24 SLA 19 relieves phone companies from the obligations of, among other things, (1) filing tariff rates and the terms and conditions of service, (2) standards of service and facilities requirements, (3) management practices and audit oversight, (4) service and rate discrimination protections, and (5) annual reporting requirements.  Additionally, the enactment include specific rate requirements that (1) basic residential local telephone service be provided at uniform rates and terms and conditions across the carriers’ study areas and (2) interexchange message telephone service rates to be either geographically averaged, or subject to progressive mileage bands.  Finally, the enactment prohibited the RCA’s ability to designate any carrier of last resort.

In granting a rulemaking petition filed by the Alaska Telephone Association (ATA), the RCA seeks comment on telecommunications regulations ATA proposes for repeal and amendment in response to the jurisdictional limits imposed by Chapter 24 SLA 19.  The RCA also seeks comment on whether the statutory constraints introduced with Chapter 24 SLA 19 continues to permit:

(1) Oversight of the eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) it has or will designate, including the authority to certify to the Federal Communications Commission regarding ETCs appropriate use of federal high cost support pursuant to 47 CFR 54.314 and to require the filing of existing facilities maps;

(2) Oversight of and mandatory reporting requirements for recipients of Alaska Universal Service Fund support;

(3) Annual gross revenue and deduction reporting requirements for the limited purpose of setting rates and auditing remittances of regulatory cost charges for otherwise exempt telecommunications carriers

(4) The adoption of a definition of "basic residential local telephone service" that requires the service be made available on a standalone basis to requesting customers, and be subject to a uniform line extension policy established and administered by the certificated carrier; and

(5) The adoption of a standard for constructive abandonment and/or discontinuance of service measured at the community or exchange level by tracking the duration and frequency of service outages originating in equipment or facilities owned or controlled by a certificated carriers.

For more information or to comment, please click on this link: Public Notices and Comments.

Note: While submitting a comment or response, please make sure you enter a valid email address and follow each step all the way through the "Finished" button. Please do not use your browser's "Back" button as this may cause errors in your submission.  If you do not wish to use the online comment portal, you may send your comments along with the docket number via email to rca.mail@alaska.gov.

Date Issued: 12/18/2019