Final meeting of Emerging Telecom Study Committee

Present: Seabaugh, Loudermilk, Lewis, Balfour, Amerson

Chairman Seabaugh began the process by affirming to everyone that no one, including himself, attempted to influence the direction or outcome of the advisory committee.


Presentation of Committee (I will scan and forward as it includes draft legislation)

Joe Bankoff is making the final presentation

Repeats his description of the process (he went over that during the last presentation)

Follows the printed report..

He says, the element that is missing, that the state needs to focus on to improve education, gain new jobs – is looking at what we need to do to get people to use it – digital literacy. He recommends that they consider further stidu by committee.

Second question – what is role of government owned networks… Speaking directly to Philly wireless and San Fran (Google) wireless efforts. (need to watch this question as Balfour instigated the question and his opinion against government networks is very clear).

Hw walks through legislation:

Will want to carefully read some of the language (e.g. “protocol conversion? on page 2)

Now for committee comments

Seabaugh: he used to work for international paper, made milk/juice cartons. Talks about how they worked on increasing market share. While they were competing for market share with other paper mfgs, while plastic was eating their lunch. He uses this metaphor to say that we have spent too much effort looking at this narrow question versus where we are in competing in the world, aka digital literacy.

Balfour: Page 4 – all providers should not subject to consumer protection laws. He wants to talk to those who do not believe a company should be subject to consumer protection laws.

Balfour – says city and counties should not be involved – but he sees the Philly experiment as ok since Earthlink is actually doing it at the behest of Philly. But Balfour points out that there are failures (like Marietta, etc)

Balfour: One last thing — one argument is 911 on the VOIP

Bankoff : FCC is managing that question.

Loudermilk : Question on defining broadband service– does that include content

Bankoff: Says broadband service does not include content or applications

Loudermilk: When I look at pipe — I see both the logical and physical — are we defining who owns the pipe?

Bankoff — no

Lewis: Could capability mean intangible mean capability to lease bandwidth in the pipe?

Bankoff: When you purchase DSL you are in effect doing that.

Lewis: I am talking on the delivery end … can someone deliver leasing someone else’s infrastructure>

Bankoff : Those people would be free to set price without interference of PSC

Loudermilk: You have physical, delivery, and service — and three entities involved in delivering that service — what i am hearing is that the part of that being regulated — the wires coming into the building won’t change — what the provider charges me isn’t under this..

Bankoff — T1 rates as done by tarrif aren’t affected by this legislation.

Bankoff — this says your ability to price, set t’s and c’s is your call

Loudermilk — will PSC regulate the CLEC’s?

Loudermilk — My question is how does this affect those middleman that I as a network access provider must contract with?

Bankoff — we expect competition between cable and phone to help manage the price.

Seabaugh: You mentioned two states passing digital literacy legislation?

Bankoff: KY has created another study committee. I am saying Georgia is in a good position to provide a basis for which our citizens can be better users, more comfortable and a broader component of the population will use it.

Seabaugh: Bryan — will you look into what those states have done

Seabaugh: I want everyone to have their oppty to talk. Now, I initially put everyone on the committee that were put on and i put them on. Those that came after, I decided not to to avoid appearance that we tried to weight the committee. So, to find some equitable balance we developed a block system (i.e. Joe Doyle represents all consumers). At this time, I want

Martin: Bellsouth — my thanks to Bankoff for tremendous job. One issue BellSouth has concern about — Ted Lawrence will walk us thru the issue:

Seabaugh — I will allow him to speak after advisory committee speaks

CIngular : Issue of excluding retail from PSC powers — Cingular voted to delete word retail because we thought it added confusion to the environment. If you say theu

Chris Jones, Verizon Wireless — Thank you for allowing advisory committee. Thanks to staff. Thanks for allowing industry to participate

USLEC: I submitted comments to you (Seabaugh). Any legislation that attempts to define emerging services will be outdated on day it is enacted. So, we will be right back trying to define. Litigation, instability, will ensue. This bill is not an all inclusive list of technologies. We talk about services tarrifed on Sept 1 2005 — that if you look at the bill and combine access to the internet and some services and suddenly that reference to Sep 1 2005 will disappear. Mr. Loudermilk asked what happens to the middle — we are not sure and we are the middle. This bill does not protect competition, protect access to the wholesale market.

We have no issues as to content — we have issues as to access to the last mile. If you have a monopoly provider — you will want some govt protection (my wording)

One area of agreement — 95% that emerging tech are not broken and in need of repair, begging the question “What is the problem that we are trying to fix??

We believe that no action is needed at this time — we recommend substantive questions be addressed.

Seabaugh: To what extent did you raise this issue

USLEC: I raised at each meeting – not addressed. Not given oppty to work together with others in our block — not even aware blocks existed until we were asked to vote as a block in one of our meetings.

Seabaugh: To what extent did you raise this with Joe?

USLEC: We had opportunity to discuss. joe did great job hearding cats…

Nancy Horn (Cable Assoc): I initially had concerns: but thought the process was quite good. Our concern with the word retail is not so great as others so long as we are adequately protected with regards to interconnect and bundling issues. So long as those remina in commission’s jurisdiction, we are fine.

Seabaugh: It is quite obvious to me what is broken. Letter to AG about matter pointed to the brokenness. So, it is clear, we are attempting to fix what the AG letter broke.

Susan Berlin- representing a CLEC: The PSC is one of the leading commissions and doesn’t need statutory definition…

Seabaugh (he interrupts her): You weren’t on the advisory committee were you?

Berlin: My boss was

Seabaugh: let’s wait on the rest of the advisory committe

Dave Baker (Earthlink): (Back on meaning of Retail): A lot of VOIP issues are exlusively federal. The PSC’s authority is pretty clearly proscribed and prescribed. We don’t want to unnecessarily limit what jurisdiction they do have. A large part of what PSC does is consumer protection… in that regard people ought to have greater comfort level knowing they (PSC) will do that.

Robinson (COVAD): My client has an issue when the time comes.

Commissioner Burgess: Most important to protect consumer protection authority — if I had my way we wouldn’t have a bill period. With that said, what the committee has done is good. We have issue with “rates, terms and conditions? — but given other protections in the bill, and fact we haven’t abused authority in past, we are prepared to live.

Jim Cucci (Southern Company, Southern Linc): Process went very well.

Berlin: I will keep it brief. Please be careful in limiting the limits on the PSC. They do a good job. Ensuring competitionis a good thing

Ted Lawrence (BS): This is a technical and complicated issue– taking months of hard work. I personally thank Joe Bankoff for doing something he didn’t have to do.

I have not met Ms. Montana before today. But we are pretty passionate about the issue.

We had three emerging technologies — VOIP, wireless, broadband. PSC doesn’t regulate now. The letter from the AG pointed to a threat. We didn’t want to have these technologies regulated.

One word gives us problems –retail. Retail found its way into draft and judged as being ambiguous. Those that thought it was too narrow came into the process and spelled out be definition what they wanted protected (page 3 46-5-202(B ii). THat language was agreed to … but the word retail remains.

Begs question what retail means. And, if you have retail, don’t you have to have wholesale? We are trying to close the door on future regulation that isn’t there today. Leaving retail tells folks like us that PSC still has something that they will get into…

So, we are begging you to consider taking the word retail out.

Gene Watkins: Covad Counsel: We are facing major shifts in the market today. Major RBOCS are coming back together. This is driving some CLECS to leave residential market all together. Regulations are also changing drastically. This gets on top of scope of what we are doing — VOIP — which is different from wireless and broadband as VOIP is a an application/protocol not a pipe.

Page 5, second bullet — in coming years 90% of calls will be VOIP. If you leave this without regulation, understand, when you take away authority of PSC you will be incrementally changing what is regulated. We have big conscern what your intent is… if vote today is whether to deregulate all voice services — you would have concerns. So, if all voice is shifting to VOIP — you are deregulating all voice services.

Understand, VOIP, and all these emerging techs, have happened within the current regulatory regime. Hence, regulation hasn’t hurt this environment.

Our proposal is: If you wait until marketplace finishes consolidation — then you will have better idea of what this legislation will do to the market.

I sit on the KY Broadband Task Force: I encourage Committee members to include such language in the bill.

Tom Bond — Direct Utilities PSC — Page 3 (legislation) (46-5-202(a)) — last meeting — changed to include “retail? — presents potential problem. If you have no authority on rates and t’s and c’s — then there is issue… confusion as to where this wording takes you. Will consumers be able to complain on t’s and c’s? Difference between no authority to “set? t’s and c’s versus no authority at all over t’s and c’s

Loudermilk: I have a feeling some of you won’t be sharing coffee after today (though I encourage you to do so). My question is – the Feds are regulating aspects — how will this legislation change what is happening if we are simply boxing out what PSC is not doing today?

Covad: PSC role in enforcing slamming and cramming. Will that survive. We have evolving tech — and BS — can move a service from a hard switch (regulated) to a soft switch (unreg’d) and what do you do.

Lawrence: To keep this state second in nation in DSL subscribers… it’s doing quite well as is — this legislation takes away the threat, the “lack of clarity? brought to this situation by the AG’s letter.

Chris Jones; Verizon: Would send good signal by business that PSC practice is policy of this state and we are codifying this practice.

Bankoff: We weren’t agreeing whether PSC had authority to arbitrate use complaints.

Seabaugh: Chair Lewis and I hoped this would be the last meeting. However, it will be best for us to think about this… Study Committee will meet Dec 15 1:00 — we will talk about the legislation for final changes we might recommend. That doens’t mean that is the last word — as the legislative process will take over this winter.


I looked at the legislation and it does no harm as far as USG is concerned.

Original Legislation

SB 120

SR 298

New Draft

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One response to “Final meeting of Emerging Telecom Study Committee

  1. Pingback: Edublog » Some Tech Policy Sausage making

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