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 has released the final agenda for its May 15, 2014, Open Meeting. As expected, the FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ remand of portions of the Commission’s 2010 Open Internet Order and proposing enforceable rules to protect and promote the open Internet. However, in an unusual move, the FCC also announced that it was waiving the Sunshine Period for the Open Internet item until 11:59 pm on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. This means that presentations and public comment on the Open Internet item will be permitted until that time. (Normally, they would have been prohibited starting May 8, 2014.) The FCC said it had determined that “strict enforcement of the Sunshine Period prohibition on comment would place an unnecessarily restrictive burden on the public, who should have full opportunity to express their views.” See our Blog “Debate Heats Up Over Proposed Net Neutrality Rules.“
Other items on the agenda are:
Wireless Microphones: A Report and Order that provides a limited expansion to the class of wireless microphone users eligible for a license.
Incentive Auction: A Report and Order that adopts key policies and rules for the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction, laying the groundwork for an unprecedented, market-driven process for repurposing spectrum for mobile broadband use, and promoting competition and innovation.
Mobile Spectrum Holdings: A Report and Order that modifies the FCC’s policies and adopts rules regarding the aggregation of spectrum for mobile wireless services through initial licensing and secondary market transactions to preserve and promote competition.
Commissioner Pai issued a statement saying: “I have grave concerns about the Chairman’s proposal on Internet regulation and do not believe that it should be considered at the Commission’s May meeting. Instead, I believe that the Commission should focus for the next week on getting the rules for the incentive auction right.”
The FCC announced its E-rate program (which provides support for communications services in schools and libraries) has approved a record level of early financial support for broadband in schools and libraries. The $450 million in funding commitments for broadband is six times the amount approved at this time last year by USAC, the program administrator. Including other communications services, USAC committed a total of $607 million in support in the first wave of funding for 2014. Funding commitments can be searched here.
USAC Lifeline Program
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Lifeline Program Staff has invited industry representatives, including carriers and consultants representing carriers, join it for weekly webinars to discuss National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) technical issues. The webinars will be held Wednesdays at 10:00 AM EDT. USAC anticipates discussing new NLAD releases, NLAD issues encountered by carriers, and questions submitted by the audience. Interested persons can view and sign up for future webinars at the Trainings & Outreach section of the Lifeline Program website. Participants may submit questions or suggest agenda items by noon EDT on the Friday before the webinar to NLADquestions@usac.org. USAC will post the agenda and questions received from carriers prior to the event.