Department of Public Service

CPCN: Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

    The following information has been prepared by the staff of the Department of Public Service (DPS) in order to assist applicants in applying for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). Although it is intended to be self-explanatory, the Department's staff is available to answer any questions that might arise. For inquiries please call the Office of Telecommunications at the following number: 518-474-4500.

What is a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity?

    Pursuant to Section 99 of New York State Public Service Law, firms seeking to offer telephone services in New York State for a profit must obtain a CPCN from the Public Service Commission (PSC) before constructing facilities and/or offering telecommunications services to the public.

    The applicant may not begin to offer telephone service until a CPCN has been granted and its tariffs and/or Customer Service Guide (CSG), as applicable, have been authorized to become effective. At that point, it is subject to and must comply with all pertinent Commission rules and regulations governing telephone corporations.

Who Does it Apply to?
    A CPCN is required for providers of local exchange (dial tone), long distance, alternative operator, and other types of telephone services, whether they utilize their own facilities or resell the services of other telephone companies.  

    A CPCN is not required for providers of wireless (cellular) telephone services, providers who provide only Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, or providers of telephone service by means of customer-owned or leased, currency or credit card operated telephones (COCOTs), and motels, hotels or hospitals.

Types of CPCNs
    A firm may apply to operate as a reseller or as a facilities-based provider.  

    A reseller subscribes to telecommunications services and/or facilities of another regulated telephone corporation and reoffers those services to the public for hire. Firms certified as resellers are only authorized to provide services through resale.  

    A facilities-based provider provides telephone service by constructing and operating its own facilities. Firms certified as facilities- based providers are authorized to provide telephone service via their own facilities, via a mix of their own facilities and resale, or through resale only.  

    If a firm wants to begin operations as a reseller and become a facilities-based provider later on, it may be advantageous to apply for certification as a facilities-based provider. The firm would then be able to operate as a reseller and then transition to a facilities-based provider later on, without having to obtain additional authority from the Commission.

    Submitting a Petition for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN)
      The information required for a CPCN is contained in the linked CPCN petition form. The form is intended to streamline the application process superseding the narrative petition previously required. The petition will be reviewed for completeness and it may be returned to the petitioner with any missing information noted.

      The petitioner must sign and date the petition and file it electronically at the following email address: Once the CPCN petition is submitted, an electronic tariff and/or a Customer Service Guide will also be required.

      Applicants providing Basic Retail services, Switched Access services and/or Wholesale services must file a tariff using the Electronic Tariff System (ETS).

      Applicants providing non-basic retail services are permitted the option of posting a listing of such services, including rates and terms and conditions on its website and must file with the Commission and make available to any requesting person a Customer Service Guide or other listing of terms and conditions in lieu of filing a tariff with the Commission for each non-basic service they propose to provide. (See the link for other CSG requirements.)

      Be advised that, without a completed tariff and/or CSG submitted with your application for a CPCN, your application WILL NOT be approved.

      Applicants must also submit the Telecommunications Carrier Critical Information Form (TCCI) electronically.

      Providers of Switched Access Services must have an approved interconnection tariff or interconnection agreement before they can begin providing service.

    Tariffs (Electronic)
      Providers of Basic Retail service, Switched Access service and Wholesale service are required to file tariffs using the DPS Electronic Tariff System (ETS).

      The petitioner must be registered to file a tariff. Follow the linked guide above on how to register to file tariffs using the Department’s ETS. Additional ETS questions can be directed to Carol McTague at (518) 473-8074 or by email to

      As an aid to companies seeking certification, the Commission has provided a model retail tariff, model access tariff, and model basic service tariff as well as an outline of information required in a CSG (if applicable) for companies seeking certification as a non-basic retail services provider. The models are meant to help organize and structure the submission and are not intended to specify or limit what services offered.

      When the initial tariff is filed, there should be a range of at least 90 days between the issue date of the tariff and its effective date. The issue date of the tariff is the date it is received by the Commission or any date soon thereafter. If provisions in the proposed tariff do not comport with Commission requirements, revisions will be required before the tariff can take effect.

    Post Certification Process
      The applicant will be notified in writing when the CPCN is granted. Notification will also be given of the approval and effective date of the initial tariff and/or the CSG, as applicable.

      Once the CPCN petition is approved, telephone corporations are required to file various reports with the Commission, which vary depending on the type of service provider. Please refer to Report Filing Requirements for assistance.

    See other web pages in the category: Telecommunications,

    See other web pages in the category: Forms