The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
Happy Holidays! The Regulatory Mix will be on holiday Dec. 24, 2013 – Jan. 1, 2014.
The FCC approved the National Exchange Carrier Association’s (NECA) proposed annual average schedule company high-cost loop support (HCLS) formula modifications for 2014. NECA’s 2014 formula projects $13.7 million in payments to carriers serving 224 average schedule study areas, a decrease of 2.1 percent from 2013 payments. HCLS provides universal service support to carriers with high loop costs based on the extent that an individual company’s cost per loop (CPL) exceeds the national average. Since average schedule companies are not required to perform company-specific cost studies, the FCC permits their expense adjustments to be calculated pursuant to a formula developed by NECA and approved annually by the FCC.
The FCC adopted a Protective Order to be used in the next phase of its Inmate Calling Service rate proceeding. The Order sets forth the conditions under which third parties may have limited access to proprietary or confidential information filed in the proceeding. By designating documents and information as Confidential under the Order, a submitting party will be deemed to have submitted a request that the material not be made routinely available for public inspection under the FCC’s rules. The Order addresses various issues including:
- how confidential filings should be submitted;
- the procedures to be used to obtain access to stamped confidential documents and confidential information;
- the manner in which documents must be made available for review;
- the purposes for which the confidential information may be used;
- permissible disclosures,
- the manner by which confidential material may be disclosed in subsequent filings; and
- how violations of the Order will be addressed.
The CPUC has approved a new all-services overlay that will add a new 628 area code to the same geographic region as the existing 415 area code in order to meet increasing consumer demand. The 415 area code serves San Francisco and Marin. To help educate consumers about the new area code, the CPUC has established a public education program task force consisting of CPUC staff and at least one representative from each telephone service provider or industry holder of numbering resources in the 415 area code. Permissive dialing will begin in six months. New telephone numbers with the 628 area code will be issued to customers requesting new telecommunication services beginning in January 2015. Watch for a TMI Bulletin when the Order is released by the CPUC.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission ruled that TracFone Wireless Inc., a Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) that operate as prepaid wireless reseller is a utility under Kentucky law. Accordingly, it is required to file an annual report of gross intrastate earnings and pay an annual assessment on those earnings. The PSC found that TracFone owed, controlled, or operated facilities that are used in connection the conveyance of messages over telephones and that, but for these facilities, TracFone could not serve its customers. The PSC noted that all the other wireless resellers registered in Kentucky file the annual reports and pay the annual assessments. Thus, there is “no legal or equitable treason that TracFone should be treated differently from other similarly situated carriers.” TracFone was ordered to file gross earnings reports back to 2010.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has stayed its proceeding case considering the appropriate regulatory relief for CenturyLink. See the Regulatory Mix dated December 5, 2013. The stay was issued at the request of CenturyLink. CenturyLink said it intends to seek sponsorship for, and the introduction of, legislation to amend the portions of the New Mexico Telecommunications Act that govern its regulation. Accordingly, a stay of the proceeding would allow parties and the Commission to avoid the time and expense of participating in a proceeding while changes to the law are being considered. The Commission agreed and stayed the proceeding until: (1) the completion of the 2014 legislative session without action on any laws governing the regulation of CenturyLink; (2) the New Mexico Legislature’s conclusive rejection of legislation to amend the laws governing regulation of CenturyLink; or (3) the conclusive action by the governor approving or vetoing legislation amending the laws governing the regulation of CenturyLink.
The Wyoming PSC has set January 2, 2014 as the date for filing interventions, statements, comments, protests, or requests for hearing regarding CenturyLink’s request to add to its lists of “non-impaired” wire centers in Wyoming. CenturyLink is seeking to add the Cheyenne Main Wire center, CLLI: CHYNWYMA, as a Tier 2 non-impaired wire center for, DS 3 transport and Dark Fiber.