New York State Department of Public Service

14-00874: Study on the State of Telecommunications in New York State

About the Initiative

In mid-May, the Department of Public Service notified State legislative leaders that it had launched a comprehensive examination and study of the telecommunications industry in New York. The study, which will include opportunities for public input, will include an analysis of the varying telecommunications technologies used today, including fiber-to-the-premises, cable, wireless, and landline technologies. The study will explore emergency response systems, regulatory oversight, quality of service, consumer protections, and affordability. The framework that will guide the examination includes the following areas: status of competition for communications services and networks; current and future consumer expectations; core public interest principles to be maintained; reliability, resiliency and interoperability of networks; and assessment of national and international approaches to ensuring core public interest principles and robust communications capabilities are maintained.

As noted in Chair Zibelman’s May 13, 2014 letter to State legislative leaders, it is highly desirable for the industry, education, government, unions, consumer and other public interest groups to have a forum to publicly and affirmatively present views on the current status of telecommunications in the state. Through the examination of these questions in public settings, with all the relevant stakeholders, a fair picture of the status of telecommunications in New York can emerge. The study will include public technical conferences on various forward-looking topics and formal public input to the final report. The public input will form a basic set of facts and vision to inform the Commission, Legislature and the Governor in order to set a rational and balanced approach to oversight of the interconnected telecommunications network of the future.

Study Outline

1. Telecommunications Landscape in New York – provide a snapshot of telecommunications networks, services and regulations in NYS. Examine the business, economic and technical activities of telephone corporations and other telecommunications service providers in this state.
    a. Telecommunications Services – Overview of availability, subscription levels, strengths and weaknesses of existing services, customer migration trends.
      i. Overview of State and federal regulatory structure.
      ii. Broadband – DSL, Cable Modem, Wireless, Satellite
      iii. Video – CATV, Satellite, wireless streaming.
      iv. Intermodal competition - customer migration trends: intermodal service offerings, proliferation to wireless.
    b. Telecommunications Networks in NYS – Overview of network architecture, coverage, interdependencies.
      i. Public Switched Telephone Network – ILECS (diversity of providers), CLECS
      ii. Cable Television Networks
      iii. Wireless Networks
      iv. Satellite Networks
    c. Transitioning Technology – Overview of transformation of traditional telephone networks. Examine the extent of the development of wireless and FTTP telecommunications services within the state.
      i. State of landline telephone network, transition from TDM to IP.
      ii. Evolution of multi-medium cable, FTTP and wireless networks.
      iii. FCC technology transition trials – network alternatives; Voice Link.
    d. Financial Health, Investment and Pricing Analysis – Overview of the financial health of the telecommunications industry. Examine investment, including incentive opportunities and competitive pressures; stability of companies within the industry segments; view of today’s Telecom industry as a multi-services (video, voice, and data) environment versus yesteryear’s narrower (video, voice or data) service environment.
2. Regulation of Telecommunications in NYS – provide snapshot of existing regulations and identify gaps.
    a. Telecommunications Regulation
      i. Overview of State and federal regulatory structure.
      ii. Existing PSL and 16NYCRR for telephone, cable and wireless.
      iii. Landline rate regulation – rate base, incentive-based, price caps, framework.
      iv. Relaxed regulatory approach – flexible regulation, commensurate with competition; level playing field concerns; reduced service quality requirements; recent detariffing efforts.
      v. Resulting asymmetric regulation – within telephone segment/across modes. Pros: incents competition, investment; cons: diminished oversight, lack of consumer protection for older and newer technologies.
      vi. National and International approaches to regulatory oversight
    b. Universal Service – Evaluate federal and state USF programs, need to maintain basic telephone service as networks evolve.
      i. State USF– Explore states’ focus on high-cost rural telephone, PSC proceeding; other states USF.
      ii. Federal USF – existing proceeding, focus on broadband.
      iii. Access Charge Proceeding

    c. Other Relevant Federal Proceedings
3. Maintaining Core Principals During Transition – Explore challenges to maintaining service quality, reliability, affordability, and accessibility of voice and data services as networks transform.
    a. Challenges of Disparate Regulation - Examine adequacy of existing regulations in multi-mode telecommunications market. Address whether disparate state and federal regulations diminish “significant and important consumer protections.”
      i. Reporting differences among service providers
      ii. Subsidies

    b. Service Quality and Consumer Protections – Overview
      i. Landline telephone SQ and Consumer Protections (SQIP case study).
      ii. Cable TV SQ and Consumer Protections
      iii. Wireless SQ and Consumer Protections
      iv. Current and future customer expectations
    c. Demographic Analysis - Examine availability and affordability of telecommunications services that may vary among different demographic groups, as defined by population density, income, home ownership, race and ethnicity, age, disability, rural and underserved communities, and other relevant criteria

    d. Impacts of Technology Transitions - Examine the impact of the different types of telecommunications services on service quality and universal service objectives
      i. Impact of Intermodal Competition on ILECs subscriber/revenue loss
      ii. Use of Alternate Technologies - Examine the extent to which the non-regulated landline telephone services meet consumer requirements for reliable voice and data telecommunications service at affordable rates. (Voice Link analysis)
      iii. Expanding Broadband – Analysis of broadband technology deployment, coverage and evaluation of service areas

    e. Impact of Telecom Technology on Other Utilities – leveraging technology to advance other interests (REV).
4. Network Reliability, Public Safety and Broad Social Concerns – address State’s ability to ensure necessary oversight of the reliability and resiliency of telecommunications networks to ensure public safety.
    a. Network Reliability and Resiliency - Examine the resiliency and functionality of the different types of network services in a natural disaster, other emergencies or network-affecting events.
      i. Superstorm Sandy Analysis – Implementing lessons learned from PSC; Ready Commission recommendations
      ii. Alternate Technologies - Examine the extent to which the non-landline telephone services meet current and future expectations to ensure public safety and emergency
    b. Emergency Responder Communication – ensuring reliability during transition to newer technologies.
      i. Impact of Technology Transition - accommodating IP networks, jurisdictional issues.
      ii. Implementing NG911 – Impact of technology transitions on smaller PSAPS, funding issues.
      iii. Ensuring Adequate State Oversight - Addressing jurisdictional gaps, outage reporting, appropriate agencies responsible.
      iv. Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) and Video Relay Service (VRS)
Conclusion – Is the current regulatory system sufficient “to protect the interests of customers and whether current laws or regulations should be changed or amended to enhance or strengthen oversight and regulation over the entire telecommunications industry”?

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14-00874: Study on the State of Telecommunications in New York State updated: 10/08/2014 01:18:17 PM

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