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:

  • For telephone corporations in California that provides full Facilities-Based/Limited-Facilities Based and Resold Competitive Local Exchange Services and full Facilities-Based/Limited-Facilities Based and Resold Interexchange Services. Facilities-based Interconnected VoIP required to obtain an operating authority from the CPUC to offer voice services in California must file a CPCN application.
  • Review, complete and submit a CPCN Application via CPUC e-file process
  • CPCN Application Fee: $500 (Cashier's Check or Business Check)
    • Payee: California Public Utilities Commission
    • Send to: CPUC ALJ Docket Office

      505 Van Ness Avenue
      San Francisco, CA 94102

    • Application Fees do not include fees related to CEQA Review.
  • Failure to include the Application Fee may result in a delay or rejection of the filing.

  • Additional References:
    • 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.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.97-09-115: 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

  • For telephone corporations in California that do not have monopoly or market power such as long-distance and phone card service providers. Non-Facilities-based (or Resellers) Interconnected VoIP required to obtain an operating authority from the CPUC to offer voice services in California may use the Simplified Registration process.
  • As of 1/5/2023, updated instructions to meet 1013 Simplified Registration form Item 11:

Applicants without existing profitable interstate operations must attach one of the financial instruments listed in D.95-12-056-Appendix C, Sections 4.B(4)(b)-(h) and 4.B(5) to satisfy the applicable financial requirements. New applicants may not submit unaudited balance statements to satisfy D.95-12-056 requirements unless they have profitable interstate operations. Section 4.B(4)(a) cash or cash equivalent, including cashier's check, sight draft, performance bond proceeds, or traveler's checks can only be utilized by CPCN applicants and not by 1013 Simplified Registration applicants.


Applicants with profitable interstate operations may meet the minimum financial requirements by either attaching one of the financial instruments as described above or all of the following three items: 1) an audited balance sheet for the most recent fiscal year; 2) an unaudited balance sheet for the previous quarter; and 3) a bank statement as of the month prior to the date of filing the application or a third-party undertaking to provide the required amounts on behalf of applicant. If the balance sheet shows current liabilities in excess of current assets or negative equity, explain how applicant will be able to maintain sufficient liquidity for its first year of operations.

  • Important Note: If the applicant answered any question in the simplified registration form as anything other than an unqualified ’true’, the applicant must instead use the CPCN application process pursuant to Pub. Util. Code §1001.

Decision 97-06-107 identified on page 9 that “the objective [of the simplified registration process] is to allow applicants which have no history of questionable behavior and which present noncontroversial applications to rely on a[n] expedited and inexpensive means of securing operating authority. Applicants which do not meet these standards, but which nevertheless may be suitable for being granted operating authority, will not be excluded from applying but will have to use the more extensive application process.”

  • Simplified Registration Fee: $250 (Cashier's Check or Business Check)
    • Payee: California Public Utilities Commission
    • Send to: CPUC ALJ Docket Office

          505 Van Ness Avenue
          San Francisco, CA 94102


    Failure to include the Registration Fee may result in a delay or rejection of the filing.

  • Additional References
    • D.14-11-004: Revised the instructions for the financial requirements established in D.10-09-017.
    • 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.97-06-107: Establishes a simplified registration process for non-dominant telecommunications carriers.

  • For telephone corporations in California that provides Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS)
  • Review, complete and submit a Wireless ID Registration form via email to
  • Wireless ID Registration (WIR) Fee: $250 (Cashier's Check or Business Check)
    • Payee: California Public Utilities Commission
    • Send to: CPUC Fiscal Office

          505 Van Ness Avenue
          San Francisco, CA 94102


    Failure to include the WIR Fee may result in a delay or rejection of the filing. Copy of the check must be included in the filing submitted via email.

  • Additional Resources:

Guidance for Communications Service Providers who are providing or plan to offer Next Generation 9-1-1 Services in California
 Steps to Filing Your Application or Registration
  • Identify the type of service your carrier will provide and review the additional information and references.
  • Prepare and complete your application or registration.
  • Submit your application or registration along with the required documentations and fees.   
Additional Information

It is important that all applicants and registrants are familiar with the processes and requirements to become a telecommunications service provider in California. Please 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 (i.e., 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.

Related Topics

Service Provider Information

Contact Information Update Request

Carrier Reporting Requirements

Voluntary Withdrawal/Cancellation of Operating Authority

Advice Letter Information

Video Franchising

VOIP Providers

Transfers of Ownership or Control

Eligible Telecom Carrier (ETC)

CD Citation Program for Service Providers


Contact Us

Phone: (415) 703-2431
Mail:  CPUC Communications Division
             Licensing and Compliance
             505 Van Ness Ave.
             San Francisco, CA 94102