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.
As we reported yesterday in our Blog posting FCC Announces Next Moves on Net Neutrality, the FCC established a new docket (GN 14-28) to address the January 2014 remand of its Open Internet (Net Neutrality) Order by the U.S. Court of Appeals . Since then, Commissioner Rosenworcel has issued a statement on announcement that reads as follows:
I support an open Internet. That is why I am pleased that the D.C. Circuit recognized the Commission’s authority to encourage the deployment of broadband infrastructure. I also support the actions Chairman Wheeler has announced today in light of this court decision. I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop policies that ensure the Internet continues to drive innovation, experimentation, and economic growth.
Separately, the FCC also issued an “Open Internet Explainer” with additional background information on the Open Internet proceeding.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
The FCC is seeking comment on a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by Acurian, Inc. asking it to clarify that a telephone call to a residential telephone line seeking an individual’s participation in a clinical pharmaceutical trial is exempt from the TCPA’s restrictions on prerecorded calls. Comments are due March 24, 2014; reply comments are due April 8, 2014.
Acurian states that the purpose of its prerecorded calls to residential lines are to match qualified candidates who have expressed interest in participating in clinical pharmaceutical trials with doctors performing those trials and to comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations. Therefore, the calls are not made for a commercial purpose. Alternatively, Acurian asserts that if the calls are found to be commercial, they nevertheless do not introduce or include an advertisement or constitute telemarketing. Thus, in either case, they fall within one of the exemptions to the requirement to obtain prior written consent to place a prerecorded call.
The TCPA and the FCC’s rules require prior express written consent to place prerecorded calls to residential lines unless otherwise exempt. The FCC’s rules exempt non-commercial calls and commercial calls that do not include or introduce an advertisement or constitute telemarketing, among others.
The FCC announced that, since it was closed on Thursday, February 13, 2014, due to adverse weather conditions, all paper and electronic filings that were due on February 13, 2014 are now due on Friday, February 14, 2014. It also said that February 13, 2014 does not count in computing filing periods of fewer than seven days since it was a Commission holiday under FCC rule §1.4(g).
Rural Call Completion
The FCC has established the date for filing oppositions to the five Petitions for Reconsideration of its Rural Call Completion Order. Watch for our upcoming TMI Blog for more details.
Staff of the Public Service Commission of Montana announced it extended the time to file comments on the PSC’s Inquiry into Possible Telecommunications Reform Legislation. Comments are now due February 28, 2014. They had been due February 21, 2014. In the proceeding, the PSC is seeking comment on aspects of Montana’s telecommunications statutes that may be appropriate for reform in the 2015 legislature. Topics to be addressed include deregulation of retail services, establishment of a state USF, VoIP jurisdiction, and carrier of last resort obligations. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Montana Bulletin dated February 3, 2014.