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.
On May 20, 2014, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will conduct an FCC oversight hearing. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will be the sole witness before the subcommittee to discuss a number of issues including incentive auctions, net neutrality rules, broadcast sharing issues, FCC process reform, and the #CommActUpdate. The hearing webcast will be available at http://energycommerce.house.gov/. The background memo is available here.
The FCC released the results of a staff survey of the rates cable operators charge for basic cable television service, expanded basic cable service, and equipment. The survey used a random sampling of cable systems, about half of which are subject to local franchise authority regulation of basic cable service rates. The others are exempt from such rate regulation. Media Bureau staff compared the rates of those two groups and found that the average rates for these services continue to be higher for the cable operators exempt from rate regulation of their basic service rates. This is due, at least in part, to the fact that cable operators in the survey response that are exempt from rate regulation provide a greater number of video channels, on average, than the responding cable systems subject to local rate regulation. The average monthly price of expanded basic cable service increased overall by 5.1 percent in the year ending January 1, 2013 to $64.41, while the average price per channel increased by 2.1 percent to 48 cents per channel.
The PSC released the briefing materials used by Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable in the recent Allowable Ex Parte Briefing before the Commission. The companies said that because the transaction does not at this time make any change in the structure, assets, or services of the South Carolina regulated subsidiaries of either of the two parties, it falls outside Section 58-9-3 10 of the South Carolina Code and so does not require the approval of the PSC. However, they provided information about the merger to the PSC to provide a description of the transaction and an explanation of its benefits for communications customers in South Carolina.