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.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) have unveiled legislation in both Houses to ban the Internet Fast Lane (so-called “paid prioritization”). The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would help prevent a two-tiered internet system ensuring start-ups and entrepreneurs have access to the marketplace and ensuring consumers can access all content equally. The bill would require the FCC to prohibit paid prioritization agreements between Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) and content providers on the last mile Internet connection, the connection between the ISP and the consumer. In addition, it would prohibit broadband providers from prioritizing or otherwise giving preferential treatment to their own last mile Internet traffic or the traffic of their affiliates over the traffic of others.
Senator Leahy stated in a press release that, “Americans are speaking loud and clear – they want an Internet that is a platform for free expression and innovation, where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on merit rather than based on a financial relationship with a broadband provider. The Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act would protect consumers and support a free and open Internet. The Senate should pass this important piece of legislation.”
See press release here.
The Federal Communications Commission granted state Lifeline Administrators in seven states a waiver of the requirement that they provide subscriber certification forms to Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs). As a result, ETCs in those states are granted a waiver of the requirement that they obtain subscriber certification forms prior to seeking reimbursement from the federal Lifeline Fund. Vermont, Utah, Nebraska, Florida, Oregon, and Idaho received a permanent waiver of the requirement. California received a waiver until the sooner of December 31, 2014, or when the state comes into full compliance. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see FCC Bulletin dated 6/10/14.
The Minnesota PUC requested comment on possible amendments to its rules governing the publication and distribution of white pages directories. Among other things, the PUC is proposing to modify its rule requiring mandatory distribution of white pages directories so that LECs could publish printed or electronic directories, or a combination of the two. LECs could determine the format of a directory to be received by a customer that does not state a directory format preference. Comments on the proposed amendments are due 7/1/14. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Minnesota Bulletin dated 6/16/14.
The Vermont Public Service Board approved FairPoint’s request to reclassify five of its wire centers. Specifically: (1) the wire centers in Brattleboro and Rutland were be reclassified as Tier 2 wire centers; and (2) the wire centers in Burlington, Montpelier, and White River Junction were reclassified as Tier 1 wire centers. The other reclassifications proposed by FairPoint were denied. The Board also adopted procedures for FairPoint to use if it seeks to reclassify wire centers in the future. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Vermont Bulletin dated 6/16/14.