Information for Communications Applicants and Registrants in California

The Commission adopted processes/requirements to become a communications service provider in California. A communications service carrier may secure Commission authority to operate in California through one or more of the following methods:


Service Type

Facilities-based Competitive Local Service Providers and Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Providers

Non-Dominant Interexchange Carrier (NDIEC) (Telephone service providers who do not have monopoly or market power such as long-distance and phone card service providers) and Non-Facilities-based Interconnected VoIP providers.

Commercial Mobile Radiotelephone Services (CMRS) Carrier


Public Utilities Code Section 1001  

Public Utilities Code Section 1013  

Decision (D.) 94-10-031


CPCN Application

Simplified Registration

Wireless ID Registration 

Application/ Registration Fee




Continuous Performance Bond Requirement (Performance Bond requirements)


$25,000 minimum3


Annual User Fee requirement

Commission’s established rate in effect (currently set at 0.52%4 of gross intrastate revenue) or $100, whichever is greater.

Commission’s established rate in effect (currently set at 0.52%4 of gross intrastate revenue) or $100, whichever is greater.

Commission’s established rate in effect (currently set at 0.52%4 of gross intrastate revenue) or $100, whichever is greater.

Additional Information and References

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1 Application Fees do not include fees related to CEQA Review.

2 The fee increase is pursuant to D.13.05-035, Ordering Paragraph 19.  

3 On an annual basis, the performance bond should be equal to or greater than 10% of intrastate revenues reported on the Commission’s User Fee Statement during the preceding calendar year or $25,000, whichever is greater.

4 Please refer to the CPUC User Fee website for the most recent Annual User Fee

It is important that all applicants and registrants are familiar with the processes and requirements to become a telecommunications service provider in California. Please obtain and review the following documents for your reference:  

  • Public Utilities Code - 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.

  • Rules of Practice and Procedure - The Rules of Practice and Procedure provide guidelines for submitting (ie: filing) the application documents.

  • General Order 96-B - General Order No. 96-B is particularly useful as reference material for draft tariffs, which must be submitted with the application.


  • Identify the type of service your carrier will provide and review the corresponding additional information and references.

  • Prepare and complete your application or registration. 

  • Submit your application or registration along with the required documentations and fees.   

For CPCN Applications and NDIEC Registration 

One 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 addresses:

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

Or use the CPUC E-file System

For Wireless ID Registration

Mail or hand-deliver the 1 copy of the registration form to the following address:

California Public Utilities Commission
Communications Division
WIR Registration
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

  Questions on Telecommunications Licensing and Registration may be sent via E-mail to:  

Additional Information and References for:

      •  D.13-05-035: Revises the certification process for telephone corporations seeking or holding certificates of public convenience and necessity, and wireless carriers seeking or holding registration
      •  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.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
      •  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.96-04-052: Adopts rates for Interim Number Portability for facilities-based CLCs
      •  D.96-04-049: Adopts customer notification and education rules for Calling Party Number (CPN) passage by CLC
      •  D.96-03-020: Sets wholesale rates and establishes which services are available for resale. Deals with LEC pricing flexibility and rating areas
      •  D.96-02-072: 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.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.95-12-056: A "must read" for all facilities-based applicants. The decision establishes rules for interconnection with LECs
      • 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.

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

      • 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.
      • 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.97-06-107: Establishes a simplified registration process for non-dominant telecommunications carriers
      • D.11-09-026: Clarified that the performance bond required by PUC §1013 (f) could be used to facilitate the collection of taxes or fees both in addition to fines, penalties, or restitution
      • D.10-09-017: Revised the streamlined registration process for applicants seeking Commission authority to operate as Non-Dominant Interexchange Carrier Telephone Corporations (NDIECs) in California
      • D.14-11-004: Revised the instructions for the financial requirements established in D.10-09-017

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