PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION
[Filed July 14, 1997, 3:00 p.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Establishing discounts from otherwise-applicable intrastate telecommunications rates for schools and libraries, and eligibility for federal subsidies, as required by the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the federal act) and Report and Order No. 97-157 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Modification of rules governing contracts may also be necessary. Docket No. UT-970317.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 80.01.040, 80.36.080.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The Federal Telecommunications Act authorizes discounted telecommunications service for schools and libraries. It provided that the Federal Communications Commission set the discounts for interstate services for schools and libraries and reserved to the states the authority to set such discounts for intrastate services. An FCC order provides for funding of both interstate and intrastate services for schools and libraries. The purpose of this rule-making proceeding is to set the intrastate discounts pursuant to the commission's authority over such intrastate rates and practices of telecommunications companies. Commission rules governing contracts may also be modified.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate aspects of telecommunications service and provides a framework within which states must operate. This rule making is being undertaken pursuant to specific directions in FCC Order No. 97-157 to establish consistency between state and federal law.
Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study. The commission will call for written comments, and may provide the opportunity for additional written comments. The commission will schedule an informal workshop with interested persons in a manner designed to develop consensus regarding any rule proposal.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting the Secretary, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504-7250, (360) 753-6451, FAX (360) 586-1150.
written comments: Written comments from persons interested in the subject matter of this proposed rule making may be filed with the commission secretary, referencing Docket No. UT-970317, not later than August 15, 1997. All commenters are asked, but not required, to file an original and ten copies of their written comments. The commission also requests, but does not require, that comments be provided on a 3 1/2 inch IBM formatted high-density disk, in WordPerfect version 51. [5.1], 6.0 or 6.1, labeled with the commenter's name and type of software used. Interested persons may also file additional written comments and attend and participate in any workshops, to be announced by written notice to all commenters and to other persons specifically asking to receive notice in this rule-making proceeding.
oral comments: Oral comments can be made at the commission's public meeting convening at 9:00 a.m. on July 30, 1997, in conjunction with the commission's consideration of an emergency rule to the same effect as that which is considered in this statement of inquiry.
Questions may be addressed to Thomas Wilson, commission staff member, at (360) 586-1194 or via electronic mail at TomW@wutc.wa.gov.
July 9, 1997
for Steve McLellan