CSAC Bulletin Article

CPUC Opens Proceeding to Consider Changes to the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act

April 27, 2023

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) instituted a new proceeding to consider changes to its licensing and oversight of video franchisees (i.e., cable providers) under the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (DIVCA). Before 2006, cable television franchises were issued by counties and cities, but this was later transferred to CPUC after the enactment of Assembly Bill 2987 (Nunez) (Chapter 700, Statutes of 2006), which created DIVCA – see CSAC’s Request for Signing Message here. Subsequently, in 2021, CSAC supported SB 28 (Caballero) (Chapter 673, Statute of 2021), which expanded CPUC’s authority to collect granular data about digital services and to set customer services requirements for cable providers, which is the topic CPUC’s current proceeding.

CPUC’s proceeding contemplates modernizing DIVCA, in addition to determining how it should collect granular data on locations served by franchise holders, and how to address customer service requirements and resolve complaints. Collecting more granular data that identifies where networks exist would give the CPUC a better understanding of how DIVCA franchisees have built their networks since 2007, and would provide important customer service oversight of these providers. Individuals interested in following the proceeding, providing public comments, and receiving updates can register here.

DIVCA is intended to deal not only with video franchises, but with increasing the deployment of broadband infrastructure within California, particularly to unserved and underserved areas. These goals are the following:

  • Create a fair and level playing field for all market competitors that does not disadvantage or advantage one service provider or technology over another.
  • Promote the widespread access to the most technologically advanced cable and video services to all California communities in a nondiscriminatory manner regardless of socioeconomic status.
  • Protect local government revenues and their control of public rights-of-way.
  • Require market participants to comply with all applicable consumer protection laws.
  • Complement efforts to increase investment in broadband infrastructure and close the digital divide.
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