By Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director of Media Alliance
On Thursday June 9th, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to move forward with the more comprehensive plan of two for an informational proceeding on the AT&T merger. Commissioner Mark Ferron joined the two other Jerry Brown appointees on the Commission in supporting “Plan A”, the more detailed proposal offered by Commissioner Sandoval over “Plan B”, the alternative offered by Commissioner Peevey.
The increased scope of the informational proceeding will include hearings with public participation in both Northern and Southern California (tentatively scheduled for July) and will allow the Commission to review and analyze both public comments and reply comments on the proposed merger, prior to presenting the results of their proceeding to the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice in Washington DC.
The tie-breaking vote by Commissioner Ferron appeared to be a bit of a surprise to PUC Chair Michael Peevey, who paused to clarify Ferron’s vote was a negative one on “Option B”, the less detailed plan of the two. Ferron replied that he was supporting “Option A”.
The proceeding will focus on market competition issues, preserving affordable pricing options for price-conscious users of wireless services, and the impacts of the merger of California jobs and the reliability and availability of mobile voice and data throughout the state.