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.
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) have introduced a bipartisan House Resolution 536 addressing rural call completion. The Congressmen said that, despite FCC action, (see earlier TMI Blog postings “FCC Asked to Rethink Rural Call Completion Rules” and “Rural Call Completion Bill Introduced In Senate“) completed calls to rural areas continue to be a problem for their constituents. Their resolution “highlights the lingering prevalence of the problem and emphasizes the need for sustained efforts by the Commission to aggressively pursue those who violate call completion rules.”
The Resolution states it is the sense of the House of Representatives that:
(1) all providers must appropriately complete calls to all areas of the US regardless of the technology used by the providers;
(2) no entity may unreasonably discriminate against telephone users in rural areas of the US; and
(3) the FCC should:
- aggressively pursue entities whose rule violations contribute to a lack of quality telecommunications services in rural areas and impose swift and meaningful enforcement actions to discourage practices leading to telephone calls not being completed in rural areas and unreasonable discrimination against telephone users in rural areas; and
- move forward with clear, comprehensive, and enforceable actions in order to establish a robust and definitive solution to discrimination against telephone users in rural areas.
The PSC ordered Sprint Communications Company to file a response to CenturyTel of Missouri d/b/a CenturyLink’s complaint regarding Sprint’s refusal to pay applicable tariffed intrastate access charges for intrastate interexchange voice traffic routed to and terminated by CenturyLink. Sprint’s response is due no later than May 1, 2014. TMI is monitoring this proceeding.
The primary issue presented by CenturyLink is whether, during the timeframe prior to the implementation of the FCC’s 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order’s compensation plan for VoIP traffic, CenturyLink’s tariffed intrastate switched access charges were applicable to VoIP-originated interexchange traffic delivered by Sprint to CenturyLink for termination. A second issue is whether Sprint is entitled to withhold payment on undisputed charges in order to claw-back payments it made without dispute for two years prior to raising a dispute over access charges on VoIP-originated traffic.
The PUC finalized regulation changes that reduce the time it takes customers to change electricity suppliers. The regulations require the EDCs to accelerate switching time frames through off –cycle meter readings that will allow consumers to switch suppliers within three business days once the EDC has been notified. EDCs are required to implement the changes within six months of the new regulations becoming final.
“It’s a huge needle-mover because we want customers to be able to be portable and be able to get into new products and not be trapped in what we call the 16- to 40-day billing cycle,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson in a video news release. “At the end of the day, this is about helping consumers that are actively out there on the market shopping by giving them greater portability, greater notification of the products that they’re being served by suppliers.”