On appeal from the Board of Regulatory Commissioners.
Approved for Publication June 13, 1996.
Before Judges Dreier, Kestin and Cuff. The opinion of the court was delivered by Kestin, J.A.D.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kestin
The opinion of the court was delivered by KESTIN, J.A.D.
In the Telecommunications Act of 1992 (the Act), N.J.S.A. 48:2-21.16 to -21.21, the Legislature found and declared, inter alia, that
(1) In a competitive marketplace, traditional utility regulation is not necessary to protect the public interest and that competition will promote efficiency, reduce regulatory delay, and foster productivity and innovation.
(5) It is in the public interest to relieve interexchange telecommunications carriers *fn1 from traditional utility regulation.
[N.J.S.A. 48:2-21.16b (footnote added).]
Accordingly, the Legislature conferred upon the Board of Regulatory Commissioners (the Board)
the authority to approve alternative forms of regulation in order to address changes in technology and the structure of the telecommunications industry; to modify the regulation of competitive services; and to promote economic development.
The Board is empowered to approve a plan for an alternative form of regulation if it finds that the plan
(1) will ensure the affordability of protected telephone services;
(2) will produce just and reasonable rates for telecommunications services;
(3) will not unduly or unreasonably prejudice or disadvantage a customer class of providers of competitive services;
(4) will reduce regulatory delay and costs;
(5) is in the public interest;
(6) will enhance economic development in the State while maintaining affordable rates;
(7) contains a comprehensive program of service quality standards, with procedures for board ...