On Friday, May 10th, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released a Proposed Decision dismissing AT&T’s Application with prejudice to be relieved of its “Carrier of Last Resort” (COLR) status, which ensures the availability of basic “plain old telephone service” (POTS) to any residential or business customer in its service territory. POTS has a uniform set of minimum service standards and regulations that does not extend to new technologies that provide similar service, such as wireline VoIP.

The Proposed Decision ultimately concludes AT&T’s legal and factual analysis is fatally flawed and erroneously misconstrues the Commission’s Universal Service Rules. Non-COLR voice alternative services are not required to provide service upon request. RCRC strongly objected to AT&T’s Application and was an active, formal party in the CPUC proceeding. Numerous counties weighed in at the public participation hearings and through advocacy letters. Such efforts were instrumental in raising awareness for the negative consequences that AT&T’s COLR relief would have in rural and hard to serve areas.

Next, the Proposed Decision will be considered at an upcoming CPUC Voting Meeting, no earlier than June 20, 2024. For more information, contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate, Tracy Rhine or Policy Advocate, Leigh Kammerich.