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.
Rural Broadband Workshop
The FCC announced it would hold a Rural Broadband Workshop on March 19, 2014. The workshop will be free, open to the public, and streamed live at http://www.fcc.gov/live. The workshop will include:
An examination of the broadband needs of rural populations and the unique challenges of both broadband deployment and adoption in rural areas.
- A discussion of the economic, educational, and health care benefits that can be realized through broadband deployment and adoption.
- An examination of the different business models that have been used to deploy broadband in rural areas, including a discussion of the factors that drive investment decisions and technology choices of different types of providers in rural communities.
- The role that states have played, and can continue to play, in meeting the rural broadband challenge.
The FCC said that additional details, including an agenda and panelists, will be released in the future.
Technology Transition Trials
The FCC announced the comment dates for the two Further Notice of Proposed Rulemakings contained in its recent Order on Technology Transitions. That Order authorized “experiments” and data collection initiatives to measure the impact on customers of technology transitions in communications networks. See TMI’s Blog “FCC Authorizes Technology Transition Trials” posted 1/30/13. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see FCC Bulletins dated 2/5/14 and 2/7/14. Comments are due March 31, 2014; reply comments are due April 14, 2014. The rulemakings seek comment on: (1) the appropriate budget and funding to support telephone numbering research such as the proposed numbering testbed; and (2) various issues relating to the planned rural broadband experiments, including the budget for such experiments and how they should be implemented in rate-of-return study areas.
Separately, the FCC released two Protective Orders to govern the filing and review of confidential information included in proposals for experiments. Read the separate orders here and here.
As anticipated,(See The Regulatory Mix – Monday, February 24, 2014), A&T filed its proposal for a TDM to IP wire center trial in a rural wire center in Carbon Hill, AL, and in Kings Point, a suburban wire center in Palm Beach County, FL. Watch for our upcoming blog with more detail on AT&T’s proposal.
The PSC determined that residential and small commercial customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric Company, Potomac Electric Power Company, Delmarva Power and Light Company, and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative who choose to decline installation of a smart meter will incur a one-time, up-front fee payable in three monthly installments, along with monthly fees. The two-part fee structure is designed to allow utilities to recover prudently incurred costs attributable directly to the opt-out customer. The PSC noted that its decision is consistent with decisions made by state commissions in California, Florida, and Illinois. Watch for upcoming TMI Bulletin.