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 that the National Lifeline Accountability Database is up and running. Now that the database is on-line, no Lifeline provider can enroll a new subscriber without first confirming that the subscriber’s household doesn’t already receive Lifeline service. Implementation of the database has been a joint effort by the FCC, the fund’s administrator—USAC—and the industry. Subscriber information has been loaded into the database by USAC in stages over recent months. Separately, the FCC released guidelines governing a new independent audit regime that Lifeline providers receiving $5 million or more a year from the program must conduct every two years. These comprehensive audits are in addition to the regular audits conducted by the program administrator. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service Subscribers, watch for a Bulletin with full details.
The FCC has announced the tentative agenda for its Wednesday, April 23, 2014, Open Meeting. The items are:
1. A Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, Order, Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Seventh Order on Reconsideration taking significant steps to continue the implementation of the landmark reforms adopted in the 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order to modernize universal service for the 21st century. An accompanying Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes measures to update and further implement the framework adopted by the Commission in 2011.
2. A Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would implement an innovative three-tier spectrum sharing approach to make up to 150 megahertz of spectrum available for wireless broadband use in the 3550-3700 MHz band (Citizens Broadband Radio Band.)
Small Business Ombudsman
The FCC released a News Release reminding small entities that the Office of the National Ombudsman (within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)) is available to assist small entities with federal agency enforcement and compliance matters. The SBA’s Ombudsman can be contacted: toll free, (888)-REG-FAIR (888-734-3247); email@example.com or www.sba.gov/regfair . The FCC also emphasized that if a small entity requests Ombudsman assistance on a matter, the agency will not retaliate in response.
AT&T Michigan and Sprint Spectrum LLC filed an IP-to-IP interconnection agreement in compliance with PSC’s March 18, 2014, Order. This filing replaces the agreement filed on February 25, 2014. At issue with the original filing was IP-to-IP interconnection. In March the PSC rejected the negotiated language and ordered the parties to submit an IP-to-IP interconnection agreement by April 1, 2014. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Michigan Bulletin dated March 31, 2014.
Comptel’s CEO, Chip Pickering, issued the following statement in response to the filing:
“Today marks a victory for consumers, competition and the industry in general. A competitor has finally been able to exercise its statutory right to interconnect with a major ILEC on an IP basis, an action that spurs the transition and allows consumers to further benefit from this innovative technology. The Michigan PSC is to be praised for being the first state to stand up to AT&T and force it to comply with its IP interconnection obligations under the ’96 Act. We hope this action serves as a precedent for other states and the FCC to follow so that carriers’ rights to IP interconnection for voice communications are honored nationwide.”