We did it! Decision Postponed!

We just learned moments ago (Wed, 5/21 4:25 pm) that a vote on the Proposed Decision is being ‘held’ (postponed). We strongly suspect that this delay has been caused due to the outcry from the nonprofit community catalyzed by the action alert organized in conjunction with the California Association of Nonprofits Task Force.

We will meet again to determine next steps.  Contact ChrisF@alternativetechs.com to how to get more involved.


Legal analysis of the proposed exclusion of voice and VoIP

Cooper, White & Cooper LLP, a law firm representing small, mostly rural, telephone companies, took a look at the proposed exclusion of voice and VoIP from the CTF.  This excerpt is from the opening comments submitted to the PUC on May 11, 2015 (emphasis ours):

“… the Commission should reject those parts of the Proposed Decision which would phase out support for voice services and modify the eligibility requirements for CBOs to require the provision of direct or indirect advanced services to individuals within a community. It would constitute legal error for the Commission to adopt these proposals.” 

Insights from other parties to the proceedings

Comments from the official parties to the proceeding are starting to circulate. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an official party to comment to Commissioners).

The Executive Director of the California Emerging Technologies Fund, an expert in the area of advancing nonprofits in the Internet area, made great points (from direct knowledge and experience) to counter the 50% proposal, the $5 million revenue limit,  board composition proposal and more.   Here is an excerpt from their submission (emphasis ours):

“… the Commission is going in the wrong direction by requiring organizations seeking the CTF discount to engage in the eligible work in 50% of their programs. There are fewer than 5 funders in California supporting community technology programs, that explicitly mention closing the Digital Divide. Therefore the Commission is likely to cut from the CTF most of the programs doing this work…”

Hopefully, staff and the board will listen. Be sure to contact the PUC directly with your comments.

CalNonprofit Task Force on the Teleconnect Fund

Yesterday there was a conference call for members of the California Association of Nonprofits (http://calnonprofits.org). Good discussion. Interesting case of one organization with state mandate to provide voice access to a disadvantaged population – that will now likely not qualify.

They are contacting all the commissioners with their objections to the Proposed Decision. You should too.

Here is a link to the template letter that the staff of the California Association of Nonprofits put together. Members and nonmembers alike are encouraged to use it. Please do so soon.

Download the sample letter to use when contacting PUC Commissioners and staff with your concerns.