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 adopted a Report and Order that will make more spectrum available for flexible use wireless services, including mobile broadband. Specifically, the Report and Order sets flexible-use regulatory, licensing, and technical rules for 65 megahertz of spectrum in the AWS-3 band, which includes the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands. The spectrum will be available in a mix of block and geographic license area sizes to meet the needs of large and small wireless providers. The Report and Order also establishes construction deadlines and other service rules, including a requirement that AWS-3 devices be interoperable within AWS-3 and AWS-1 frequencies. This represents the largest amount of spectrum suitable for mobile broadband that the FCC has made available for auction since 2008 and is intended to help wireless companies meet growing consumer demand for mobile data.
Separately, the FCC adopted a Report and Order modifying the rules governing the operation of Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices operating in the 5 GHz band. (U-NII devices are used for Wi-Fi and other high-speed wireless connections. They support a variety of applications including Wi-Fi hot spots and wireless home local area networks, broadband service to rural areas offered by Wireless Internet Service Providers and off-loading of traffic from commercial cellular wireless networks.)
The new rules: (1) will allow for transmission speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second; (2) remove the current restriction on indoor-only use and increase the permissible power which will provide more robust access in the 5.150-5.250 GHz band. This will allow U-NII devices to better integrate with other unlicensed portions of the 5 GHz band to offer faster speeds and reduce congestion at crowded Wi-Fi hot spots such as airports and convention centers. The FCC also modified certain technical rules to improve protection for incumbent systems by requiring manufacturers to secure their devices against illegal modification which could cause interference to incumbent users in the band.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) will investigate AT&T’s proposed tariff revision to discontinue its calling card service. AT&T has proposed to discontinue its Calling Card Service as part of a company-wide effort to better manage its product offerings and service to its customers. So that the intended changes can be implemented on June 30, 2014, the Company has proposed a tariff effective date of March 8, 2014. The PURA has suspended the tariff and directed AT&T to respond to a set of interrogatories no later than April 11, 2014.
In December 2013 the Commission directed Staff and any interested parties to conduct workshops to address certain outstanding Section 16-111.5B energy efficiency issues. Specifically, the following general topics were identified: (1) Oversight and Evaluation Responsibility, (2) Potential Studies, and (3) Request for Proposal Process. Staff has requested input from interested parties by April 2, 2014, regarding the questions to have addressed through workshops for each of these Section 16-111.5B issues. The questions received in response to this request and comments received in response to those questions will form the basis of the discussions and agendas at the upcoming workshops that are tentatively scheduled for the late April and early May timeframe. Each workshop issue will be addressed through a separate teleconference workshop meeting. For more details, see the Commission News article.