SENATE MEMORIAL 131
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019
George K. Munoz
REQUESTING THE PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION TO INQUIRE AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT APPROACHES FOR AMENDING THE STATE RURAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND TO PROVIDE GREATER BENEFITS TO THE PUBLIC, TO LESSEN THE BURDEN ON RATEPAYERS, TO PROVIDE GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY FROM CARRIERS RECEIVING FUNDING AND TO MORE EFFECTIVELY ADVANCE THE GOAL OF INCREASING BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS THROUGHOUT NEW MEXICO.
WHEREAS, the Rural Telecommunications Act of New Mexico has established a state rural universal service fund; and
WHEREAS, the majority of the state rural universal service fund proceeds are dedicated to supporting rural incumbent local exchange carriers pursuant to a formula based principally upon reduction of intrastate access charges; and
WHEREAS, the public regulation commission has a duty to ascertain whether fund recipients are using this funding to ensure the availability of universal service as determined by the commission at affordable rates in rural areas of the state; and
WHEREAS, in the current legislative session, a telecommunications carrier has sought funding from the state rural universal service fund comparable to funding received by the rural incumbent local exchange carriers through a proposed amendment to the Rural Telecommunications Act of New Mexico; and
WHEREAS, under current law, the public regulation commission appears to lack the authority and resources to track, monitor or otherwise ensure that the state rural universal service fund is expended in the most efficient and economical manner; and
WHEREAS, since 2005, approximately three hundred million dollars ($300,000,000) has been collected from ratepayers and disbursed through the state rural universal service fund;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the public regulation commission be requested to inquire and make recommendations about approaches for amending the state rural universal service fund to provide greater benefits to the public, to lessen the burden on ratepayers, to provide greater accountability from carriers receiving funding and to more effectively advance the goal of increasing broadband internet access throughout New Mexico; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the public regulation commission be requested to report its findings and recommendations to the appropriate interim legislative committee by December 1, 2019; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the chair of the public regulation commission and the chair of the legislative finance committee.
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