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2023 Fall PSC Update

As families are enjoying the Fall sports season and farmers begin to wrap up harvest, things have
also been very active and busy at your Nebraska Public Service Commission as well this Fall season.
Nearly one year ago, I was thankful to have been elected by you to serve as the Public Service
Commissioner for the 31 counties of PSC District 4. I am excited to be serving you in this role and to
be your voice on the PSC.


It’s been just over 10 months since taking the oath of office to represent you and I wanted to share
another quarterly update on the work that has been getting done over the past 3 months since I
wrote the Summer 2023 District 4 Update.


Many reading this likely have not heard much of the happenings and work of the PSC as it is an
elected body in Nebraska that does not typically receive a lot of media coverage.


The Nebraska Public Service Commission is an elected 5-member statewide board that oversees
several industries which affect our everyday lives including broadband internet and
telecommunications, the 911 network and service, oil and natural gas pipeline routes and industry
regulation, railroad lines, commercial grain storage licensing, commercial ground transportation
licensing and regulation, and modular/manufactured housing safety regulation.


The past three months have been fast and full of a lot of productive work.


I continue to be incredibly thankful to the PSC staff for their passion, dedication, and expertise in
helping all of us Commissioners do our jobs effectively and carry out our service to the people who
elected us.


One of the biggest issues of these past three months at the PSC were two major State 911 Network
outages that occurred on August 31 and September 2. Both outages occurred in the Lumen and
Windstream networks. I joined my fellow Commissioners in voting unanimously to launch two
investigations into both outages. The PSC takes the State 911 Network as one of our highest
responsibilities as it is the most critical aspect of our public emergency communication
infrastructure. We are working through a swift and thorough inquiry into both incidents and will
hold these companies accountable if the investigation concludes that either Lumen and
Windstream were at fault and find out why there wasn’t more network redundancy. The
investigation is ongoing with a public hearing expected in the coming weeks.


In addition to the 911 outage investigations, the PSC also approved 911 funding applications for
several counties, including Saline & Seward counties for the purchase of new computer servers to
operate upgraded mapping software for use in emergencies. Commissioners also set the 2024 E911
surcharge rate and submitted a letter of support to the Federal Communications Commission
regarding rule making for the delivery and allocation of federal resources for the implementation of
Next Generation 911 service in Nebraska.

On telecommunications and broadband issues, I joined my fellow Commissioners and voted to
extend and increase the state E-Rate Special Construction Matching Program for libraries and
schools in Nebraska to help build out new fiber to their facilities. We as a Commission also voted
unanimously to open a docket and are preparing to launch a Capital Projects Fund Round 2 for even
more broadband expansion grants allocated to the third congressional district following a first
round of funding earlier this year. We also voted to schedule a hearing for the creation of a $1
million Precision Ag Grant program funded by the Nebraska Legislature, held a hearing on Dark
Fiber Market Rate Setting, and received a status update on the Viaero Rip & Replace program to
eliminate Chinese made Huawei telecommunications equipment from use on Nebraska cell phone
towers.


We as Commissioners also held hearings to gather industry input on Reverse Auction Procedures to
improve how broadband grant funds are distributed to broadband providers and initiated a review
of the State Universal Service Fund broadband program to consider changes impacting the pace at
which broadband services will be deployed in the coming years with several broadband expansion
programs in motion across Nebraska through several different agencies.


In addition to these exciting developments in the broadband expansion front, the PSC also updated
several Railroad Rules & Regulations, approved several new medical transportation and
entertainment transportation companies, held hearings for several transportation companies that
were out of compliance and revoked the licenses of some, opened a docket to determine the safety
seal fee amount for manufactured homes, modular homes, and RV’s, collected a fine for an out of
compliance commercial grain warehouse dealer, and approved several new grain dealer licenses in
Nebraska ensuring grain dealers and elevators are in compliance protecting farmers and customers.


The PSC also approved a new natural gas provider, Tiger Natural Gas, to conduct business in
Nebraska, and are currently conducting an audit on all of Nebraska’s natural gas suppliers to ensure
adequate supplies are available for customers and financial stability of the company’s providing
natural gas in Nebraska.


As fall is for most Nebraskans, it was an exciting and busy time at the Public Service Commission as
well. I pledge to continue working hard for all the people of the 4th District and I will continue
keeping you informed by sharing these quarterly updates to local newspapers and media outlets
throughout PSC District 4 as well as posting them on my social media pages.


If you have any questions or have an issue that relates to any of the industries the PSC works with
that I or our staff can assist with, please reach out to our office at 402-471-3101 or by email at
eric.kamler@nebraska.gov.


I am truly thankful for this opportunity and honor you have entrusted me with to make Nebraska
an even better place to call home and I am excited for this time of serving you on the Nebraska
Public Service Commission!


-Eric M. Kamler
Commissioner-Public Service Commission District 4

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