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-  At its Public Meeting on Tuesday, the PUC supported a Motion by Vice Chairman John Coleman regarding the implementation of the Commission’s Order in the Verizon reclassification matter. The Commission’s March 4, 2015 Order reclassified standalone basic phone service as competitive in 153 VZ wire centers and Coleman believes that a Tentative Implementation Order is necessary to clarify the relative authority of VZ’s Product Guide as opposed to regulations dealing with customer protections and carrier of last resort obligations. Commissioner Jim Cawley cast the lone dissenting vote on the matter, and excerpts from their respective comments appear below.

“With a conflict between the Verizon Product Guide and a retained regulation, the regulation trumps the Product Guide. This conclusion may be implicit in the Reclassification Order. However, I believe this clarification is necessary to remove any doubt, and Verizon’s Product Guide shall note this conclusion. If there is no applicable regulation, the Product Guide can be used as a reference when addressing a customer complaint. If there is no applicable regulation and the Product Guide does not address an issue or is ambiguous, the proper inquiry is whether Verizon’s conduct was reasonable under the circumstance in accordance with Section 1501 of the Code.”

“One interpretation of Verizon’s current Product Guide is that it may conflict with Verizon’s COLR obligation in competitive wire centers. To reconcile this potential conflict, I clarify that the Product Guide governs only to the extent it is consistent with applicable law. In other words, in competitive wire centers, the Product Guide does not trump Verizon’s statutorily-based COLR obligation that remains in those wire centers, and Verizon cannot contractually remove this obligation. The Product Guide also does not trump the requirement of 52 Pa. Code 63.20 to “make reasonable line extensions” which remain in effect in competitive wire centers.”

Vice Chairman John Coleman

“The fundamental flaw of the Verizon Competitive Classification Order in elevating the status of the Verizon Product Guides into a legal standard-- which can change at Verizon’s whim and without prior Commission approval-- cannot be effectively cured through the clarifications put forward by today’s Motion. Over time, this Commission will be obliged to “reinvent the wheel” by laboriously re-establishing a relevant body of law for the protection of consumers of competitive basic local exchange telephone services, largely duplicating the regulations that have been waived for the 153 wire centers at issue. I also fear that the clarification guidance adopted today does not sufficiently address the carrier of last resort obligations of the two Verizon ILECs in their provision of competitive basic local exchange telephone services in the 153 wire centers”

Commissioner Jim Cawley

The above is a quote from the May 22, 2015, issue of the PTA Friday Report. To view the full issue, please log into the Active Members Only Section of this site (telcos only) or contact to be added to the distribution list (members only)



2015 Meetings
(must be a member & registered to attend)

PTA Small Company Meeting
State College, Pa

JULY 13-15
Hershey, Pa

PTA Small Company Meeting
State College, Pa

September 14 & 15, 2015
Northeast Telecommunications Showcase

Binghamton, NY (Doubletree by Hilton)

PTA Small Company Meeting
State College, Pa


Pennsylvania Telephone Association
30 N. 3rd Street, Suite 300
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: (717) 238-8311      Fax: (717) 238-5352