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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 18-1433



Blue Jay Wireless, LLC

[48 Pa.B. 5682]
[Saturday, September 8, 2018]

Public Meeting held
August 23, 2018

Commissioners Present: Gladys M. Brown, Chairperson, statement follows; Andrew G. Place, Vice Chairperson; Norman J. Kennard; David W. Sweet; John F. Coleman, Jr.

Blue Jay Wireless, LLC; P-2012-2325045

Tentative Order

By the Commission:

 Blue Jay Wireless, LLC (Blue Jay) is a facilities-based eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) that received approval to operate as an ETC on August 29, 2013 at Docket No. P-2012-2325045.

 On April 4, 2018, Commission staff sent an email to a Blue Jay utility contact as a reminder that Blue Jay's annual Lifeline Report was overdue. That email was returned as undeliverable. On June 11, 2018, Commission staff sent emails to two additional utility contacts. Those emails were also returned as undeliverable. On June 12, 2018, Commission staff sent a certified letter to Blue Jay's address on file, 5010 Addison Circle, Addison, TX 75001. On July 2, 2018, the Post Office returned the certified letter as undeliverable, since that address is no longer valid. On July 2, 2018, Commission staff sent an additional email to another Blue Jay utility contact person. That email was also returned as undeliverable.

 In an effort to contact Blue Jay, Commission staff called the telephone number for Blue Jay that is listed on USAC's website. That number was answered by Stand Up Wireless, another ETC approved to provide Lifeline service in Pennsylvania. According to the Stand Up Wireless employee, Blue Jay no longer exists and Stand UP is now providing service to Blue Jay's former customers. No other information regarding Blue Jay was provided.

 In addition to the foregoing, Commission staff contacted the attorney of record listed for Blue Jay. That attorney confirmed that Blue Jay is no longer in business.

 Lastly, the website posted an article on its website on February 5, 2018, informing the public that Blue Jay Wireless no longer participates in the Lifeline program. It also included a copy of the online notice that was posted on Stand Up's website in 2017, notifying Blue Jay customers that on or about July 6, 2017, Stand Up would be their new Lifeline service provider.

 To date, Blue Jay has not notified the Commission that it is no longer providing Lifeline service or petitioned this Commission to relinquish its ETC status in Pennsylvania. Moreover, Blue Jay has not notified the Commission that its former customers are now being serviced by Stand Up.

 ETCs seeking to relinquish their ETC status in Pennsylvania must petition the Commission before relinquishing service. The Commission's rules and requirements for relinquishing ETC status is set forth in the Commission's September 3, 2013 Secretarial Letter that was sent to all Pennsylvania ETC's at Docket No. M-2013-2380576. Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TA96) and our rules governing petitions for relief, this Commission may grant a request to relinquish ETC status if the petitioning ETC demonstrates reliable, probative and substantial evidence of the following:

 1. More than one ETC serves the service area(s) in question;

 2. The ETC seeking to relinquish its ETC designation has provided advance notice to the Commission of such relinquishment;

 3. The Commission, prior to authorizing the relinquishment, requires:

 a. Remaining ETC(s) to ensure that all customers served by the relinquishing carrier will continue to be served;

 b. Sufficient notice to permit the purchase or construction of adequate facilities by any remaining eligible telecommunications carrier.

 47 U.S.C. § 214(e)(4). While the statute allows an ETC to relinquish its ETC status, and thus forego access to various federal funding sources, we note that the relinquishment process remains focused on preservation of universal service. To further the federal and state universal service goals, the Commission requires the following:

 1. All Petitions to relinquish ETC status must be accompanied by an affidavit or verification of an authorized individual;

 2. The Petition must be served upon the statutory advocates, the Office of Consumer Advocate, Office of Small business Advocate, the Commission's Bureau of Enforcement & Investigation and all carriers referenced in the petition as being alternative ETCs;

 3. Notice must be provided to all affected Lifeline customers as follows:

 a. Written notice 90 days prior to the discontinuation of Lifeline service in the form of a stand-alone mailing separate from any billing or collections mailing;

 b. Telephonic notice 60 days prior to the discontinuation of Lifeline service

 c. Written notice 30 days prior to the discontinuation of Lifeline service in the form of a billing insert or stand-alone mailing;

 4. The notices should inform affected customers of a date certain that Lifeline service will end, list alternative lifeline providers and offer assistance to those customers who wish to retain Lifeline service;

 5. These notices must be attached to the Petition to Relinquish;

 6. Petitioners are directed to ensure that the transition to another Lifeline provider is seamless for the Lifeline customer and ensure that the customer is not subject to additional connection fees or deposits. Also, the Petitioner is to assist the Lifeline customer with any lifeline certification occasioned by the petition.

 The Commission has the authority under the Public Utility Code to ensure timely compliance with our regulations and orders including the ordering of such other remedy as the Commission may deem appropriate. 66 Pa.C.S. § 501. Based upon the above-stated facts, we believe it is appropriate to revoke Blue Jay Wireless' ETC status without the necessity of a formal complaint.

 For the aforementioned reasons, we tentatively conclude that revocation of Blue Jay's ETC status pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 214(e)(4) is in the public interest. We take this action on a tentative basis because of Blue Jay's failure to serve the application on appropriate parties or provide public notice of its relinquishment. With the cancellation of Blue Jay's ETC designation, the Commission will forego the imposition of any additional penalties, which may have been appropriate; Therefore,

It Is Ordered That:

 1. Revocation of Blue Jay Wireless, LLC's ETC designation is hereby tentatively approved as being in the public interest.

 2. The Secretary serve a copy of this Tentative Order upon the Office of Consumer Advocate, the Office of Small Business Advocate, and the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement, and also cause a copy of this Tentative Order to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin with a 30-day comment period.

 3. Absent the filing of adverse public comment within 30 days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the Bureau of Technical Utility Services shall prepare a Final Order for entry by the Secretary and shall advise the affected Bureaus within the Commission in writing that the ETC designation of Blue Jay Wireless, LLC at this docket is cancelled and the case may be closed.

 4. Upon entry of the Final Order described in ordering Paragraph No. 3 above, Blue Jay Wireless, LLC's name will be stricken from all active utility lists maintained by the Commission's Bureau of Technical Utility Services and the Assessment Section of the Bureau of Administration, and the docket shall be closed.


Statement of Chairman Gladys M. Brown

 Section 214(e)(4) of federal law, 47 U.S.C. § 214(e)(4), requires state commission or FCC approval for a carrier to relinquish an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) designation. The ETC designation is a status this Commission confers upon carriers that want to secure federal support to provide service in high-cost areas or want to provide Lifeline service. The Commission imposes additional obligations aimed at ensuring that consumers are not left without a service provider if a carrier stops being an ETC and to ensure that the departing provider remits any required fees and assessments.

 This provider unilaterally ceased being an ETC provider of Lifeline service without prior Commission authorization until the staff conducted follow-up. While I support a decision allowing this provider to no longer be an ETC provider of Lifeline service, I also remind ETC recipients that they cannot cease providing ETC service without prior Commission approval.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 18-1433. Filed for public inspection September 7, 2018, 9:00 a.m.]

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