PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Telecommunications company line extensions. The commission will explore matters relating to line extension policies and tariffs, including a review of existing WAC 480-120-071, under Docket No. UT-991737. The inquiry will include consideration of whether the present rule results in very high customer charges for some line extensions, and if so, what problems that causes; whether different rule provisions would alleviate problems; the effects of possible changes on the public and affected companies; and what rule provisions should be adopted or amended. The commission will also consider how the present line extension rule and any proposed changes relate to the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 80.01.040, 80.04.160, and 80.36.300.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: At present, some Washington residents and businesses go without telephone service because line extension charges are prohibitively high. That imposes barriers for commercial and personal communications between the affected citizens and others, and prevents emergency communication. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, Public Law 104-104, 110 Stat. 154 provides that universally affordable telecommunications services that are comparable in quality and price between urban and rural areas should be available at rates that are "fair, just, reasonable and sufficient." Rule making may clarify the rules of customers and companies, and assist in finding a balance that meets the goals expressed in federal law.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The commission will review orders and rules of the Federal Communications Commission in its inquiry.
Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study; and the commission will ask for initial written comments, and will provide the opportunity for additional comments. The commission will schedule workshops with representatives of affected constituencies in a manner designed to seek consensus among affected interested regarding any rule proposal.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting the Secretary, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504-7250, (360) 664-1174, fax (360) 586-1150. Such persons may submit comments, as specified below, or may ask to be included in the commission's list of interested persons for the proceeding.
WRITTEN COMMENTS: Written comments in response to the CR-101 from persons interested in the subject matter of this proposed rule making may be filed with the commission secretary, referencing Docket No. UT-991737, not later than December 10, 1999. All commenters are asked, but not required, to file an original and ten copies of their written comments. The commission also requests, but does not require, that comments be provided on a 3 1/2 inch IBM formatted high-density disk, in WordPerfect version 5.1 or later, labeled with the docket number of this proceeding and the commenter's name and type of software used. The commission may offer additional opportunities to provide written comments. Interested persons may file additional written comments in response to any such invitation. Interested persons may also attend and participate in the workshop described below and in any other workshop that may be scheduled. The commission will provide written notice of any additional preproposal workshops to all commenters and to any other persons specifically asking to receive notice in this rule-making proceeding.
NOTICE OF WORKSHOPS: A workshop will be held on December 15, 1999, beginning at 1:30 p.m., in the Commission Meeting Room 108, First Floor, Chandler Plaza, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA. The commission's teleconference bridge line will be available for this workshop. A limited number of teleconference ports will be available and will be assigned one to an organization, first come first served. Persons wishing to attend via the teleconference bridge line must contact Nancy Moen at (360) 664-1140 no later than 5:00 p.m., December 13, 1999. Questions may be addressed to Bob Shirley at (360) 664-1292, or e-mail at email@example.com, or by mail at the address above.
A second workshop will be held on January 13, 2000, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Okanogan Public Utility District, 1331 Second Avenue North, Okanogan, WA.
The commission also contemplates a later workshop for discussion of any
Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
November 17, 1999
for Carole J. Washburn