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.
The FCC announced the effective date of its rules intended to improve the reliability and resiliency of 911 communications networks. The rules do not apply to entities that merely provide the capability for customers to originate 911 calls. The rules will become February 18, 2014, except for the two rule sections requiring annual compliance certifications. Those sections contain information collection requirements and require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. The FCC will announce the effective date of those rules once OMB approval is obtained. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see FCC Bulletin dated 1/24/14.
Slamming and Cramming Forfeiture
For the second time in as many months, the FCC proposed a multi-million dollar forfeiture against a telephone company it claims engaged in deceptive marketing practices, slamming and cramming, and violated its truth-in-billing rules. The action, against U.S. Telecom Long Distance, Inc., proposes a $5.23 million forfeiture. The alleged violations are very similar to those alleged against Consumer Telecom, Inc., in December 2013. See my blog “FCC Issues $3.56Million Holiday Forfeiture – Slamming and Cramming”, dated December 18, 2013. As with Consumer Telecom, the FCC increased the proposed forfeiture due to the egregious nature of the apparent violations. The FCC said that with its action against USTLD, it “continues to make good on prior warnings that it will aggressively pursue those engaged in deceptive conduct.”
New Hampshire (Maine & Vermont)
The NH PUC issued an Order approving FairPoint’s Wholesale Performance Plan (WPP) and Stipulation and Settlement Agreement. The WPP will replace the existing Performance Assurance Plan (PAP) and its underlying Carrier to Carrier wholesale service quality assurance plans.
The new WPP is designed to measure FairPoint’s performance in providing federally-mandated wholesale services to CLECs and to provide for penalties payable to CLECs as FairPoint’s wholesale customers if it fails to meet the specified performance standards. The WPP puts $12 million per year at risk as an incentive for FairPoint to provide the agreed-upon levels of wholesale service: $4.75 million per year is at risk in each of New Hampshire and Maine and $2.5 million is at risk in Vermont. Within 28 days of the end of each month, FairPoint will produce a performance report and calculate bill credits owed to each CLEC. Any applicable bill credits will be issued within 30 days of the performance report.
See the New Hampshire PUC Order here.