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.
Iowa Network Services, Inc. (INS) is the first entity to submit a proposal to conduct a service-based experiment concerning the TDM-to-IP transition. INS’s proposal focuses on the effects of the transition on centralized equal access (CES) service. The FCC seeks comment on the proposal, which may be found here. Comments are due March 21, 2014; reply comments are due March 31, 2014. See TMI’s Blog FCC Authorizes Technology Transition Trials, dated January 30, 2014.
The purpose of the experiment is to “study the impact on customers and rural communities” as INS’ voice communications service converts from a CES network based on TDM circuit-switched voice services to a CES network using new IP technologies (IP CES). The experiment will also explore whether IP CES can economically advance and accelerate IP conversion for the more than 140 rural LECs currently connected to INS’ centralized platform. (INS operates a CES network to aggregate rural traffic, centralize the provisioning of expensive features and functionalities, and help bring the benefits of advanced communications services and competition to rural areas of Iowa.)
Separately, AT&T told the FCC it has been “working diligently” to prepare its own proposal for conducting service-based experiments “in a small number of wire centers in its wireline footprint.” It anticipates filing its proposal on February 27, 2014. The FCC said it would issue a separate public notice setting deadlines for the filing of comments and reply comments on AT&T’s proposal.
The FCC has issued a consumer guide containing frequently asked questions about unblocking cellular phones and other mobile devices. On February 11, 2014, CTIA-The Wireless Association adopted six standards on unlocking into the CTIA’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service. Participating wireless service providers will implement at least three of these six standards by May 11, 2014, and all of these standards by February 11, 2015. See The Regulatory Mix – Friday, December 13, 2013.
Among other things, the guide answers the following questions:
Question: “Are There Military Exceptions to Allow Device(s) to Be Unlocked Early for Deployments?”
Answer: Yes. If you are deployed internationally or receive orders for international deployment, providers must unlock your device upon verification of deployment under the new standards. Contact your mobile service provider, provide verification of your deployment, and request that your device(s) be unlocked.
Question: “Can My Mobile Service Provider Refuse to Unlock My Phone Because I Owe Them Money or Am Currently Under Contract?”
Answer: Yes. Providers do not have to unlock devices for customers or former customers that are not in good standing. You should contact your mobile service provider to understand the terms and conditions of your agreement and your provider’s unlocking policies.
Other questions answered include “Will My Phone Automatically Be Unlocked When My Service Contract Has Been Fulfilled” and “Will I Be Charged Fees to Unlock My Device”.
The PUC officially launched the new Energy Choice Ohio website, www.energychoice.ohio.gov, dedicated to consumer education regarding electric and natural gas choice in Ohio. The new website offers information to help consumers understand electric and natural gas choice, including what steps they need to take when switching suppliers; what their rights are as a consumer; what aggregation is; and a frequently asked questions page that represents questions the PUC has received while visiting all 88 counties in the state offering consumer education presentations on energy choice. The website also features a complete revamping of the popular “Apples to Apples” comparison charts that provide residential and small commercial consumers with a snapshot comparison of current electric and natural gas supplier offerings and contract terms. These charts will be updated daily and consumers will have the ability to filter and sort offers to better compare those they are most interested in.