DE 98-144
                     Dakota Services, Ltd.
               Petition for Authority to Provide
               Local Telecommunications Services
               Order Nisi Granting Authorization
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,161
                         March 9, 1999
       On August 10, 1998, Dakota Services Ltd. (DSL) filed
     with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (Commission) a
     petition for authority to provide switched and non-switched local
     exchange telecommunications services, pursuant to the policy
     goals set by the New Hampshire Legislature in RSA 374:22-g,
     effective July 23, 1995.
       The Legislature directed the Commission to adopt rules
     on or before December 31, 1996, to enforce the provisions of RSA
     374:22-g.  Effective December 4, 1996, the Commission adopted
     N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc Chapter 1300 which governs the petition of
     applicants to become competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs).
       Pursuant to Puc Chapter 1300, an applicant's petition
     for certification shall be granted when the Commission finds that
     (1) all information listed in Puc 1304.02 has been provided to
     the Commission; (2) the applicant meets standards for financial
     resources, managerial qualifications, and technical competence; 
     and, (3) certification for the particular geographic area
     requested is in the public good.
       The Commission Staff (Staff) has reviewed DSL's
     petition for compliance with these standards.  Staff reports that
     the company has provided all the information required by Puc
     1304.02.  The information provided supports DSL's assertion of
     financial resources, managerial qualifications, and technical
     competence sufficient to meet the standards set out in Puc
     1304.01(b), (e), (f), and (g).  Staff, therefore, recommends
     approval of DSL as a New Hampshire CLEC.
       DSL has provided a sworn statement and request for
     waiver of the surety bond requirement in Puc 1304.02(b) stating
     that they do not require advance payments or deposits of their
     customers.  Staff recommends granting the waiver.  
       We find that DSL has satisfied the requirements of Puc
     1304.01(a)(1) and (2).  In addition, we find that certification
     of DSL in its intended service area, Bell Atlantic's current
     service area, is in the public good, thus meeting the requirement
     of Puc 1304.01(a)(3).  In making this finding, as directed by RSA
     374:22-g, we have considered the interests of competition,
     fairness, economic efficiency, universal service, carrier of last
     resort, the incumbent's opportunity to realize a reasonable 
     return on its investment, and recovery by the incumbent of
     expenses incurred.  This finding is further supported by the
     Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TAct).  Because DSL has satisfied
     the requirements of Puc 1304.01(a), we will grant certification.
       As part of its application, DSL agreed to abide by Bell
     Atlantic's present and future rates for intraLATA switched access
     or to charge a lower rate.  If, at any point, DSL seeks to exceed
     Bell Atlantic's access rates it shall first contact the Staff to
     review the proposal.  The Commission will monitor access rates as
     the intraLATA toll and local exchange markets develop.  CLECs
     charging higher access rates than they, in turn, pay Bell
     Atlantic could inhibit intraLATA toll competition which would
     call into question Section 253 of the TAct.
            We note that as new competitors enter the market,
     greater pressure is put on the 603 area code, so long as today's
     antiquated number assignment process remains in effect. 
     Accordingly, we would urge DSL to request and use numbers
     responsibly and conservatively, and to join in exploring
     alternative mechanisms to use existing numbers as efficiently as
     possible and thereby avert the need for a new area code.
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
       ORDERED NISI, that DSL's petition for authority to
     provide switched and non-switched intrastate local exchange
     telecommunications services in the service territory of Bell
     Atlantic, is GRANTED, subject, inter alia to the requirements of
     Puc 1304.03; and it is
            FURTHER ORDERED, that request for waiver of the surety
     bond requirement per Puc 1304.02(b) is granted; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that the Petitioner shall cause a copy
     of this Order Nisi to be published once in a statewide newspaper
     of general circulation, such publication to be no later than
     March 16, 1999 and to be documented by affidavit filed with this
     office on or before March 23, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that all persons interested in
     responding to this Order Nisi shall submit their comments or file
     a written request for a hearing on this matter before the
     Commission no later than March 26, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order Nisi shall be
     effective April 5, 1999, unless the Commission provides otherwise
     in a supplemental order issued prior to the effective date; and
     it is 
       FURTHER ORDERED, that the Petitioner shall file, ten
     days prior to commencing service, a rate schedule including the
     name, description and price of each service, with the Commission
     in accordance with N.H. Admin. Rules, Puc 1304.03(b).
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this ninth day of March, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary