NARUC finishes its 115th Annual Meeting today. While I was unable to stay for its duration - I listened to the telecom committee's debate as it passed four resolutions. Before attaining the luster of NARUC resolutions, the NARUC Board and the full body must review and approve them. Eventually, we'll see them posted here.
Nonetheless, if a committee approves a resolution it is rare for it not to become official policy. Of the four passed on Monday, two are worth looking at in detail. (Congratulations to Jessica Zufolo are in order and hopefully non-controversial.)
The first resolution pats the FCC on the back for the TELRIC NPRM. (Lapsing into telecom acronym geek-speak...must fight the urge...). In two pages, NARUC voices support for UNEs, additional flexibility for states to adjust UNEs, fill factors and other adjustments. When I left, the tentatively approved resolution endorses retaining TELRIC in seven different "Resolved" clauses. A few things stand out: first, there seems to be no embarrassment in stating, as the resolution does, "States should retain the discretion to adoption appropriate fill factors that may vary from an ILECs actual fill factors (emphasis added)". Whew, it is reassuring that the arbitrariness of TELRIC is at least admitted! Second, the resolution claims that TELRIC has been a factor in "encouraging and sustaining local competition." What sort of competition is this? Does it encourage competition or regulatory rentseeking? Sigh. And third, the resolution directs NARUC's General Counsel to file comments in the FCC proceeding. This of course creates an opportunity for our sometimes adversary, and always our friend, Brad Ramsay to enliven the proceedings.
The second resolution, on information services, deserves at least as much scrutiny and perhaps more because of the scope of the issue. Whereas, TELRIC is a method that illustrates the triumph of theory over experience, it has the real world effects on telecom plant and investment as rent control does on housing stock; and Whereas, VoIP and the future of the linguistic debate over information and telecommunications services has very BIG implications; now therefore be it resolved, That future posts will address the substantial and interesting issues of Title I and Title II regulation as seen by the august body of NARUC.