DS 98-098
                AT&T Communications of New Hampshire, Inc.
          Petition to Implement a Universal Connectivity Charge 
            Order Suspending Petition to Implement a Universal
               Connectivity Charge on Residential Customers
                         O R D E R   N O.  22,949
                               June 5, 1998
         On May 7, 1998, AT&T Communications of New
     Hampshire, Inc. (AT&T) filed with the New Hampshire Public
     Utilities Commission (Commission) a petition seeking
     approval of a revision of its tariff, PUC No. 4, for effect
     June 6, 1998. 
         As described in the relevant paragraph, 1.6.3.H.,
     the revision sought will impose a Universal Connectivity
     Charge equal to 1.8% of residential customers' monthly
     intrastate bills. 
         The Commission Staff is aware that AT&T has filed
     identical tariffs in numerous other states, intended to
     represent the intrastate portion of assessments made against
     AT&T for funding the federal Universal Service Fund (USF)
     for schools and libraries and rural health care providers. 
     Staff points out that the AT&T filing seems to run counter
     to the Federal Communications Commission's USF Order (FCC
     97-157).  In Paragraphs 838 through 840, the FCC said that
     the determination of USF assessments on IXCs for schools and
     libraries and for rural health care providers uses combined
     interstate and intrastate retail revenues but that carriers
     may recover the assessments solely via interstate rates.  In
     order to permit further investigation, Staff recommends
     suspension of this tariff, providing AT&T an opportunity to
     file additional support of the proposed Universal
     Connectivity Charge.              
         By our Order No. 22,473 in DE 90-002, dated
     January 6, 1997, we reduced the scope of regulation of
     competitive intraLATA toll providers like AT&T.  In that
     order we stated that, because of the advent of competitive
     choices among intrastate toll providers, we will presume
     that initial tariff provisions and subsequent changes are
     just and reasonable and in the public interest.  However, we
     further stated "(T)his presumption is subject to further
     evaluation if a problem is raised by the public, another
     utility, or the Commission regarding a particular service or
     condition of service."  We consider the issue raised by
     Staff as sufficient to override the presumption in this
     case.  Accordingly, we will suspend the instant filing to
     allow thorough review.
         Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
         ORDERED, that the AT&T proposed tariff revisions
     to NHPUC telephone tariff No. 4, consisting of Section 1,
     1st Revised Page 10.1 is SUSPENDED.
         By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this fifth day of June, 1998.
       Douglas L. Patch    Bruce B. Ellsworth   Susan S. Geiger
           Chairman           Commissioner       Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary