November 2014 - Telecommunications Association of Maine

External Affairs Report
November 2014
Fairpoint Rate Case (Docket No. 13-340). Despite having deliberated the Rate Case on
September 9, as of November 13 there has still been no Order issued.
Dig Safe Inquiry (14-192) / Dig Safe Rulemaking (14-248). Final supplemental
comments were filed on October 6 in this proceeding. The Proposed Rule has not yet
been set for deliberations.
POLR Questions (Docket No. 13-340). Parties have responded to the Draft Response of
the Staff in this proceeding. The majority of commenters issued red-lined versions of the
Draft Response, with cable and wireless companies largely supporting the position of the
Staff while TAM and the OPA were more critical of the approach of the Staff,
specifically with regard to the proposition that the competitive market was a suitable
replacement for POLR regulation. FairPoint does not appear to have commented on the
Draft Response. In a related matter, the wireless and cable companies appealed the initial
protective order that covered the release of Form 477 data by the requested individuals.
Based on the appeal, the Commission modified the order and generated protective order
10 which would grant further protection to all Form 477 related data, not just the specific
Form 477 itself. The wireless and cable companies have again appealed, this time
claiming that any release of Form 477 would be contrary to federal law. A case
conference has been scheduled on November 17 to address this issue.
ConnectME Mapping. At the October 16 meeting, the ConnectME Authority discussed
the status of the State mapping program on a going forward basis. The initial federal
funds to support the mapping project have expired, but the Authority is investigating the
extent to which it may have funds to continue the mapping data collection in Maine. It is
likely the program will be funded and data will continue to be updated.
Underground Utility Separation (14-315). The Commission has initiated a proceeding,
brought on by the water and gas utilities, regarding separation of underground facilities in
the right of way. The existing MPUC standard is 12" while the existing MDOT standard
is 36". In addition, there appears to be a fairly long standing section of law that the
Commission has not followed which would have required gas companies to file location
plans prior to any underground installations, presumably to permit parties to review them
and determine if there was a potential danger associated with the proposed locations.
One of the questions asked by the Commission is whether it should start requiring these
plans to be filed. Both FairPoint and the OPA commented that separation from utility
poles was a factor that the Commission must keep in mind when making any decisions.
Reply comments are due November 24.