Should MN PUC look at revoking LTD Broadband’s expanded ETC? They are asking you!

Last week I noted that MN industry associations (MTA and MREA) are asking the MN PUC (Public Utilities Commission) to revoke LTD Broadband’s ETC designation. If you have an opinion, especially if you have firsthand experience as a customer or otherwise, the PUC would like to know what you think. Should they initiate proceedings to look into it?

Why is it happening? Because a year ago, LTD qualified to apply for large amounts of federal funding (RDOF) to deploy fiber to the home in Minnesota (and other states) and many are wary of their ability to successfully deploy a FTTH network. And right now, the areas where they have applied are stuck in a limbo of dibs; because they might get this RDOF federal funding, they are disqualified for other options.

What does this mean? An entity must have ETC designation to qualify for RDOF. Therefore, a revoked ETC designation would impact RDOF eligibility. That would mean, LTD may no longer qualify for the RDOF funding.

Again the PUC is asking Minnesota residents what they think – especially if you have (or might have in the future) firsthand experience with LTD Broadband.

Here’s the info on the comment period and process (There’s more in the PDF.)…

NOTICE OF COMMENT PERIOD
Issued: May 11, 2022

In the Matter of the Petition of LTD Broadband, LLC to Expand its Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier

In the Matter of a Petition to Initiate a Proceeding to Revoke the Expanded Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (“ETC”) Designation of LTD Broadband, LLC (“LTD”) and Deny LTD’s Funding Certification for 2023

PUC Docket Number(s): P-6995/M-21-133

P-558, P-6995/M-22-221

Comment Period:
Initial comment period closes June 1, 2022 at 4:30pm
Reply comment period closes June 8, 2022 at 4:30pm
Comments received after the close of the comment period may or may not be considered by the Commission.

Issue: Should the Commission initiate a proceeding to develop a record to determine whether LTD Broadband’s expanded ETC designation should be revoked?

Topic(s) Open for Comment:
• Should the Commission initiate a proceeding to consider revoking LTD Broadband LLC expanded ETC designation, which was granted in the Commission’s June 3, 2021, Order Approving Petition for ETC Designation in Certain Census Blocks, and address LTD’s certification for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) funding in 2023?
• If the Commission initiates a proceeding: – Should the proceeding be conducted as an expedited proceeding under Minn. Stat. §237.61? – Should the matter be referred to the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH) for a contested case proceeding pursuant to Minn. Rule 7829.1000? or – Some other procedure?
• If the Commission uses an expedited proceeding, should the Commission designate a lead Commissioner or a sub-committee of Commissioners under Minn. Stat. §216A.03 subd. 8 or 9? And should this proceeding include a cross-examination of parties?
• Should the Commission adopt one of the schedules proposed by the petitioners? Or a schedule proposed by one of the other parties? Or delegate scheduling to the designated lead commissioner, subcommittee of commissioners, or administrative law judge (ALJ)?
• Should the Commission order LTD to submit its FCC RDOF long form application to the Commission?
• Are there other issues or concerns related to this matter?

Background
On June 3, 2021, the Commission issued an Order that expanded LTD Broadband’s (LTD) ETC designation to include approximately 102,000 additional locations in Minnesota (“LTD Expansion Order”). LTD sought that designation to qualify for $311 million in support under the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) to build and operate a fiber-to-the-premise (“FTTP”) broadband network in Minnesota.

On May 6, 2022, the Minnesota Telecom Alliance (MTA) and Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) jointly submitted a petition under Minn. Stat. § 216A.05 subd. 5 to initiate a proceeding to revoke the expanded eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) designation of LTD and deny LTD’s certification for 2023. The petitioners believe that newly available facts show that LTD cannot meet the extensive commitments it made to qualify for RDOF funding for approximately 102,000 locations in Minnesota.

Filing Requirements: Utilities, telecommunications carriers, official parties, and state agencies are required to efile documents using the Commission’s electronic filing system (eFiling). All parties, participants, and interested persons are encouraged to use eFiling at: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling

Full Case Record: See all documents filed in this matter on the Commission’s website at: mn.gov/puc/edockets, select Go to eDockets Project Database, enter the year (21) and the docket number (133), and select Search.

Subscribe: To receive email notification when new documents are filed in this matter visit: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling and select Subscribe to Dockets. Questions about this docket or Commission process and procedure?

Contact Commission staff, Marc Fournier, at Marc.Fournier@state.mn.us or 651-201-2214 or Sally Anne McShane, at Sally.Anne.McShane@state.mn.us or 651-201-2224.

This entry was posted in uncategorized by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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