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How to apply for a Certificate Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to become a Competitive Local Carrier (CLC)


In order to understand the certification process and comply with its requirements, there are several important documents that applicant should obtain and review before filing an application.

I.  Please download ALL of the following documents

The Public Utilities Code is the law, which applicant must adhere to when conducting business as a utility in California. Applicant should familiarize itself with all the sections of the Code that apply to telecommunications companies.  The Rules of Practice and Procedure provide guidelines for submitting (ie: filing) the application documents.  General Order No. 96-B is particularly useful as reference material for draft tariffs, which must be submitted with the application.  

The documents above can also be found on the CPUC web site at:(

II. In addition you will need copies of several Formal Documents

Copies of the following decisions and applications can be ordered from our Central Files Office by calling (415) 703-2045. You will be billed separately for any orders placed through Central Files.  

A.  Applicant should read and understand the following decisions before submitting an application.

The following decisions are downloadable: 

  • D. 95-07-054:  Adopts initial rules for CLCs in Appendices A and B.  The decision and appendices contain Consumer Protection Rules and other information necessary to complete the application and tariffs.
  • D. 95-12-056:  A "must read" for all facilities-based applicants. The decision establishes rules for interconnection with LECs.
  • D. 95-12-057:  Decision certificating the initial group of 31 facilities-based CLCs. This decision also includes additional information helpful in preparing an application for CLC authority.
  • D. 96-02-072:  Decision certificating 59 reseller CLCs. The decision also addresses additional rules and contains a complete set of interim rules (compiled from D. 95-07-054 and D.95-12-057).  Decision requires CLC to use Pacific Bell or GTEC limitation of liability tariffs in its tariff.
  • D. 96-03-020:  Sets wholesale rates and establishes which services are available for resale. Deals with LEC pricing flexibility and rating areas.
  • D. 96-04-049:  Adopts customer notification and education rules for Calling Party   Number (CPN) passage by CLCs.
  • D. 96-04-052:  Adopts rates for Interim Number Portability for facilities-based  CLCs.
  • D.96-12-020:  Adopts modifications in our administrative processing of facilities-based CLC filings to institute a quarterly schedule for the processing of filings for facilities-based CLC CPCNs.
  • D. 97-08-059:  Addresses the additional retail services to be offered for resale to CLCs, restrictions on the resale of services and the extent of wholesale discounts to services subject to resale.

The following decisions may be ordered from our Central Files Office at (415) 703-2045:

  • D. 97-09-115:  Extends the coverage of the Commission's adopted rules for local exchange competition to include the service territories of Roseville Telephone Company and Citizens Telephone Company.
  • D. 99-02-038:  Relieves competitive local carriers (CLCs) from the requirement to keep their books of account in conformance with the Uniform System of Accounts (USOA).
  • D. 99-12-050:  Filings docketed after January 1,2000, facilities-based CLCs seeking CPCN authority shall make their filing in the form of a separate application and shall no longer be docketed as a petition in Investigation 95-04-044.

B.  Applicant's application will include a request for certification in one of several different areas. You may order a sample application for the type of service authority the applicant is interested in providing.  You can search the Daily Calendar under "New Filings" to find an application from another carrier with service type similar to yours. 

III. Prepare your application 

Please prepare your application CAREFULLY, using the format of the application you ordered in II.B., and the information contained in the Public Utilities Code, Rules of Practice and Procedure, General Order 96-B, as well as the modifications contained in the decisions you ordered in II.A.

Your application must include a sample (draft) tariff that describes all the services and sample rates you intend to offer. In order to draft a tariff that complies with the CPUC's requirement, the following documents are important to obtain and review before drafting.

  1. Appendix B to D. 95-07-054
  2. General Order 96-B
  3. Sample tariff (see sample tariffs submitted by competitors).
  4. Limitation of Liabilities - Appendices B & C of D 95-12-057  

Applicant may order a sample competitor tariff for facilities-based and reseller service by calling the Communications Division at (415) 703-3052.   Appendix B to D. 95-07-054 and Appendices B & C of D 95-12-057 can be obtained by calling Central Files Office at (415) 703-2045.

IV. Application fees

A fee of $75 (check, draft, or money order payable to the CPUC) must be enclosed with all applications requesting facilities-based or reseller authority.  Applicant can also request in its CLC application authority for intra-LATA and inter-LATA toll authority with the CLC application at no extra cost.  The applicant can also file a separate application to obtain intra-LATA and inter-LATA toll authority using the NDIEC (Non-Dominant Inter-Exchange Carrier) registration process which normally will be shorter (40 days vs. approx. 3 months).  The applicant would have to pay an additional $75 to use the registration process for NDIEC authority.

In addition to the above noted application fee, all applicants requesting facilities-based CLC authority are required to submit an additional $200 deposit for California Environmental Quality Act  (CEQA) processing (not applicable to applicants requesting only reseller authority).  This deposit includes applicants applying only for limited facilities-based CLC authority (a limited facilities-based CLC is one that uses facilities that are installed solely within existing structures).  The $200 CEQA deposit (check, draft, or money order payable to the CPUC) must include the statement  "CEQA Fee per D.00-08-010".  

If the applicant seeks only limited facilities-based authority, only the $200 shall be required.  If the applicant seeks more extensive facilities based authority that requires the preparation of either an MND (mitigated negative declaration) or an EIR (environmental impact report), however, then the applicant shall remain liable for reimbursing the Commission for additional CEQA costs that may be incurred in processing its application.  The Commission will bill the applicant for any additional CEQA costs that are applicable once they become known.  Please call John Boccio, CEQA Telecommunications Projects Manger, at (415-703-2641) for more detailed information on applicant's CEQA responsibility and related fees before submitting application.

V.  Submit (file) your application at the Docket Office    

Review the Rules of Practice and Procedure and follow the proper filing procedures.

An original and 6 copies of your application (or petition) must be filed with the Commission's Docket Office.  You may mail or hand-deliver your application to the following address: 

  • California Public Utilities Commission
    Docket Office
    505 Van Ness Avenue
    San Francisco, CA 94102

In addition, 1 copy must be sent to the following:

  • Michael C. Amato, Interim Director
    Communications Division
    505 Van Ness
    San Francisco, CA 94102

and for facilities-based applicants, one copy must be sent  to:

  • John Boccio
    CEQA Telecommunications Projects Manager 
    Energy Division
    505 Van Ness Ave
    San Francisco, CA  94102

VI.  Please do not solicit customers, collect deposits, or begin operations within California during the application process.

VII. What happens next

A. Your application will be processed by the Docket Office.

  1. The Docket Office will contact you if parts of your application are missing or improperly filed.
  2. Your case will be assigned an application number.

B. Your application will be forwarded to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division.

  1. An ALJ will be assigned to review your application.
  2. The ALJ will contact you if parts of your application are missing or improperly filed.
  3. You may contact the ALJ Division at (415) 703-2008 to ask for the name and telephone number of the ALJ who has been assigned to review your application.
  4. You may contact the assigned ALJ to ask questions about your application and the review process.

C.  The Communications Division, Carrier Branch will review your draft tariff and prepare a tariff deficiency list that will be included in the ALJ decision as Attachment B.

D.  The ALJ will write a decision. 

E.  The Commission will approve the decision during a Commission Conference.

  1. Commission Conferences are scheduled twice a month.
  2. Decisions for each Commission meeting will appear on the Commission Agenda which can also be found on the Commission's web page at:

F.  Your company will receive a copy of the decision in the mail after it has been approved. Applicant must then file an advice letter to submit your initial tariff for processing and approval before it can begin providing service.

  1. A description of the advice letter format can be found on pages 22 of General Order No. 96-B (section 8.4).
  2. The initial tariff is applicant's draft tariff with your actual rates and all the changes that the Communications Division requested.
  3. Applicant's initial tariff must have the decision number of the decision it received in the mail, and the advice letter number used in filing its initial tariff, presented on each page of the tariff in the lower left-hand corner of the page.
  4. Applicant's corporate identification number (U-XXXX-C) must be shown on the upper left corner of each tariff sheet.
  5. Please file a CD-ROM version of your initial tariff by advice letter to:
  6. The advice letter that includes applicant's initial tariff will be effective one day after Communications Division staff approval.
  7. The Communications Branch will send an acceptance certificate to the filer after it has reviewed and made the advice letter effective.
  8. When applicant receives the acceptance certificate, it will know that its tariffs have been approved. Applicant may then begin to conduct business within California if it has fulfilled all other ordered requirements in the decision that granted applicant authority.

NOTE:  The certification process (from filing of the application to the Commissioner's approval of the decision) takes about three months.


Last Modified: 3/12/2012

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