NARUC Urges BDAC Expansion, Proposes Three New Members

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners today urged the FCC to expand the membership of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) “to assure that crucialpublic safety, reliability, costs, and subsidy concerns are reflected in its final recommendations” and offered three NARUC members as potential members of an expanded BDAC.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, NARUC President John Betkoski noted that only two BDAC members “represent State level government, two represent city governments, and one represents a tribal government. Among the 58 representatives participating in the working groups, the percentages are a bit worse with one NARUC and six local government representatives.” Mr. Betkoski added, “It is self-evident, that any recommendations will necessarily reflect the composition of the committee. A simple review of the current roster suggests the committee is heavily weighted in favor of those seeking attachments to poles. The concept for this committee was a good one, but the usefulness of any recommendations is likely to be undermined by this imbalance.”

He noted that the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has also expressed concern about the electric industry’s representation by only two members on BDAC and also calls for more state representation to address the interests of public safety, reliable electric service, grid modernization, and potential subsidization of broadband deployment by electric ratepayers.

The makeup of the BDAC has been criticized as being dominated by industry members, particularly the wireless and broadband Internet service providers that have argued that local and state governments created barriers to deployment, with too little representation for the local and state governments that will be asked to adopt the model codes and best practices recommended by the BDAC.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution earlier this summer urging more local representation on the BDAC (TR Daily, June 26), and even a BDAC member representing industry, David Don of Comcast Corp., has expressed concern about getting early input from governments so that they will be more likely to adopt the BDAC’s outputs (TR Daily, July 20).

In today’s letter to Mr. Pai in GN docket 17-83, quoting from a resolution adopted by the NARUC board of directors at last month’s meeting in San Diego (TR Daily, July 19), Mr. Betkoski and NARUC Communications Committee Chair Paul Kjellander said that “because, NARUC ‘was expecting a smaller and more balanced committee membership,’ the association ‘only submitted the name of one NARUC commissioner to the FCC to serve on behalf of the NARUC membership.’ To assist your office in expediting additions to the BDAC to create more balance, NARUC solicited the names of others State regulators willing to represent NARUC on the BDAC. NARUC’s President, John Betkoski III of Connecticut, would endorse the following Commissioners as additional NARUC representatives to the BDAC: District of Columbia Public Service Commission Chairman Betty Ann Kane, Colorado Public Utilities Commissioner Wendy Moser, and myself, Paul Kjellander, President of the Idaho PUC and the current Chair of the NARUC Telecommunications Committee.” —Lynn Stanton, lynn.stanton@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily