BEFORE THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION
COMMISSION

Case No. 22-00070-UT

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF AIRVOICE WIRELESS, LLC D/B/A AIRTALK WIRELESS FOR DESIGNATION AS AN ELIGIBLE TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIER FOR THE LIMITED PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LIFELINE SERVICE IN THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO

NOTICE OF PROCEEDING AND HEARING

NOTICE is hereby given by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (“Commission” or NMPRC) of the following matter:

On March 29, 2022, AirVoice Wireless, LLC, d/b/a AirTalk Wireless (“AirVoice”), filed a petition requesting that the Commission designate AirVoice as an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) in the state of New Mexico. AirVoice seeks designation solely to provide federal Lifeline service to qualifying New Mexico consumers and solely on non-tribal lands. AirVoice indicates in the petition that it will not seek (and is not eligible to seek) access to funds from the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) for the purpose of participating in the Link-Up program or providing service to high cost areas.

AirVoice is a Michigan limited liability company, with its principal office located at 9920 Brooklet Drive, Houston, Texas 77099. AirVoice is a provider of commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) and provides prepaid wireless telecommunications services to consumers by using the underlying wireless networks of its underlying carriers, AT&T Mobility LLC and T-Mobile USA, Inc., on a wholesale basis. AirVoice requests ETC designation that is statewide in scope, excluding Tribal Lands, subject to the existence of its underlying carriers’ facilities and corresponding coverage.

AirVoice asserts that it meets the statutory and regulatory requirements for designation as an ETC, including Section 214(e)(2) of the federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended, Sections 54.101 through 54.207 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the State Rural Universal Service Fund (SRUSF) Rule under 17.11.10.24 NMAC.

AirVoice requests a waiver of the provisions of SRUSF Rule 17.11.11 NMAC that conflict with FCC rules, i.e., those portions that apply to Link-Up (which is only applicable to facilities-based ETCs providing service on rural, tribal lands); the New Mexico ETC eligibility requirements of 17.11.11.8(A) and (B) NMAC to the extent they deviate from FCC rules, given that the FCC revised the Lifeline eligibility criteria to add the Veterans or Survivors Pension benefit program and remove Low–Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), National School Lunch Program’s free lunch program (NSLP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and any other state-specified eligibility criteria from the list of qualifying programs (and federal income eligibility is based upon 135% of the federal poverty guidelines); and 17.11.11.8(C) NMAC, to the extent the application form contemplated therein contradicts the universal application form(s) required by FCC rules.

Further information regarding this case can be obtained by contacting the Commission at the internet and physical addresses and telephone numbers provided below. Additional details regarding the procedural requirements for this proceeding are set forth in the Procedural Order issued by the Hearing Examiner on June 3, 2022. All inquiries, correspondence, written comments, and other communications concerning this matter shall refer to Case No. 22-00070-UT.

The present procedural schedule for this case is as follows:
(1) AirVoice shall file direct testimony in support of its petition on or before June 10, 2022.
(2) Any person desiring to intervene to become a party (“intervenor”) to this case must file a motion for leave in conformity with NMPRC Rules of Procedure 1.2.2.23(A) and 1.2.2.23(B) NMAC on or before July 15, 2022. All motions for leave to intervene shall be served on all existing parties and other proposed intervenors of record.
(3) Any intervenor may file direct testimony on or before July 15, 2022.
(4) Staff shall file direct testimony on or before July 28, 2022.
(5) Any rebuttal testimony shall be filed on or before August 15, 2022.
(6) Any motions in limine, motions to strike testimony, and other prehearing motions shall be filed on or before August 16, 2022. Responses to such motions shall be filed on or before August 19, 2022.
(7) The public hearing of this matter shall be held on August 25, 2022 beginning at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time (MT) to hear and receive evidence, arguments, and any other appropriate matters relevant to this proceeding. The evidentiary hearing will continue, as necessary, on August 26, 2022. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the evidentiary hearing shall be conducted via the Zoom videoconference platform. Access to and participation in the evidentiary hearing shall be limited to party-participants (i.e., counsel and witnesses), the Commissioners, and other essential Commission personnel. The Zoom hearing will be livestreamed through YouTube and will be displayed on the Commission’s website at https://www.nm-prc.org. Persons not participating in the evidentiary hearing as an attorney or witness may view the hearing on the Commission’s website and shall not join the hearing via Zoom except to provide oral comment as allowed below.
(8) Interested persons who are not affiliated with a party may make oral or written comment pursuant to Rule 1.2.2.23(F) NMAC. Oral comment shall be taken at the beginning of the public hearing in this matter on August 25, 2022 and shall be limited to 3 minutes per commenter. As part of the public hearing, public comment will be taken via the Zoom platform. Therefore, persons wishing to make an oral comment must register in advance, not later than 8:30 a.m. MT on August 25, 2022, by e-mailing Ana Kippenbrock at Ana.Kippenbrock@state.nm.us. Written comments may be submitted before the Commission takes final action by sending the comment, which shall reference NMPRC Case No. 22-00070-UT, to prc.records@state.nm.us. Public comments, whether oral or written, shall not be considered as evidence in this proceeding.

Interested persons should contact the Commission at 888-427-5772 for confirmation of the hearing date, time, and place since hearings are occasionally rescheduled or, if deemed not required or necessary, canceled at the discretion of the Hearing Examiner or Commission.

The procedural dates and requirements established by the Hearing Examiner are subject to further order or ruling of the Hearing Examiner or Commission. The Commission’s Rules of Procedure, at 1.2.2.1 NMAC et seq., shall apply in this case except as modified or varied by order of the Hearing Examiner or Commission. The Rules of Procedure and other NMPRC rules are available online at the New Mexico Commission of Public Records’ State Records Center and Archives website at http://www.srca.nm.gov/nmac-home/nmac-titles.

Interested persons may examine AirVoice’s petition and other documents in the public record for this case on the Commission’s website under “Case Lookup E-docket” at https://edocket.nmprc.state.nm.us.

Anyone filing pleadings, documents, or testimony in this case shall comply with the Commission’s electronic filing policy, as amended from time to time. This includes filings in .pdf format, with electronic signatures, sent to the Records Bureau’s e-mail address, as set out in the Commission’s procedural rules at: prc.records@state.nm.us, or another Records Bureau address as set out on the Commission’s webpage, within regular business hours of the due date in order to be considered timely filed. Documents received after regular business hours will be considered as being filed the next business day. Regular business hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MT. Parties shall serve a copy on all parties of record and Staff. All filings shall be e-mailed by no later than 5:00 p.m. MT on the date they are filed with the Commission.

All filings shall be e-mailed to the Hearing Examiner on the date filed at anthony.medeiros@state.nm.us by no later than 5:00 p.m. MT. Such e-mailing shall include the Word or other native version of the filing (e.g., Excel or Power Point) if created in such format. Any filings not e-mailed to the Hearing Examiner in compliance with the requirements of this Order and Commission rules are subject to being summarily rejected and stricken from the record in the Hearing Examiner’s discretion.

ANY PERSON WITH A DISABILITY REQUIRING SPECIAL ASSISTANCE IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROCEEDING SHOULD CONTACT THE COMMISSION AT LEAST 24 HOURS PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE HEARING AT 888-427-5772.

ISSUED at Santa Fe, New Mexico this 3rd day of June 2022.

NEW MEXICO PUBLIC REGULATION COMMISSION

Anthony F. Medeiros
Hearing Examiner

Published in the Valencia County News-Bulletin: June 16, 2022

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.