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 Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “Examining the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger and the Impact on Consumers” on April 9. The testimony, opening statements, and a webcast of the meeting can be viewed here. After the hearing, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced they plan to send a letter to the Department of Justice and FCC calling on the agencies to examine concerns about the proposed merger. They are interested in the proposed merger’s impact on prices, programming, and service for consumers as well as how it would affect access to the Internet.
The FCC is calling for comment on a Petition filed by CenturyLink Public Communications Inc. (CPCI) seeking review of a USAC audit finding. Specifically, CPCI challenges USAC’s refusal to recognize that there was a double payment of federal USF (USF) contributions on certain revenue and allow it to recalculate its USF obligation accordingly. Comments are due May 8, 2014; reply comments are due May 23, 2014.
At issue is revenue received by the entity with which CPCI contracted to provide payphone and inmate calling services at various correctional institutions. Under their contract, the contracted entity had the responsibility to, and did, include the revenues in its contribution base and pay USF on that revenue. However, CenturyLink mistakenly included that same revenue in its contribution base. USAC maintained that CenturyLink had the primary responsibility to report the revenues and contribute to the USF based on those revenues, regardless of what CPCI’s agreement provided. CPCI argues that this conclusion is not correct, that the contracted entity was not a mere billing and collection agent but rather is a telecommunications service provider who has the responsibility to report and contribute on the revenues. Thus, USAC’s insistence that CPCI report and contribute on those same revenues results in double payment of USF and should be reversed.
In March 2014 the PSC ordered Sprint Spectrum L.P. and AT&T Michigan to file an IP-to-IP interconnection agreement for PSC approval. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Michigan Bulletin dated March 31, 2014. As required, the parties jointly filed an agreement that included the provisions governing IP interconnection. In its brief submitted on April 8, 2014, AT&T urges the PSC to reject certain provisions in the interconnection agreement it filed on April 1, 2014. AT&T said that the identified IP interconnection provisions are contrary to the requirements of §251 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Specifically it said that provisions in the ICA violate the FCCs “one POI per LATA” rule and the federal law requirement that points of interconnection be on the ILEC’s network and that terms be just and reasonable. AT&T also said that §251 does not require IP interconnections and that the agreement violates the federal law’s prohibition against requiring access to a superior, yet unbuilt network.