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.
District of Columbia
The PSC has set out the next steps for its investigation of Verizon’s use of its copper infrastructure proceeding. TMI Regulatory Bulletin subscribers see Bulletin dated 7/10/14. It also denied the Office of the People’s Counsel Amended Motion which was filed in February 2014. The OPC’s Amended Motion recommended four actions for the PSC to take:
- issue a declaratory order which would require Verizon to among other things: halt all aggressive FiOS marketing tactics; fully inform customers about the differences among switched copper, switched fiber, and FiOS digital voice services; and require Verizon to revise its internal procedures and retrain its personnel so that they have information needed to accurately answer questions about transitioning services and can immediately honor customer requests to return voice services to copper facilities.
- issue a cease and desist order;
- schedule an evidentiary hearing; and/or
- initiate a rulemaking proceeding. (The PSC noted that amendments to the Retail Quality of Service rules that impact all telecommunications service providers will be addressed in a future notice and comment rulemaking process.)
PSC Staff announced that it will hold a workshop on July 17, 2014, to discuss comments concerning its proposed consolidation and simplification of the PSC’s rules that govern telecommunications companies and VoIP providers. TMI Regulatory Bulletin subscribers see Bulletin dated 5/5/14. Interested parties may call in to the workshop at either 526-5904 (local) or 866-630-9352, although Staff said that attendance in person, when possible, is of greater benefit to all participants.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced it will hold a hearing titled, “At a Tipping Point: Consumer Choice, Consolidation, and the Future Video Marketplace,” on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. The Committee will discuss the future of the video marketplace, including the impact of the growth of online video and consolidation among pay TV and broadband providers. The hearing will be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website.
Rural Broadband Experiments
At its July 11, 2014, Open Meeting, the FCC authorized up to $100 million for rural broadband experiments to be awarded through a competitive bidding process. The experiments will be divided into three groups: (1) $75 million to test construction of networks offering service plans providing 25 Mpbs downloads and 5 Mbps uploads for the same or lower amounts of support than will be offered to carriers in Phase II of the Connect America Fund: (2) $15 million to test interest in delivering service at 10/1 speeds in high cost areas; and (3) $10 million for 10/1 service in areas that are extremely costly to serve. Final applications for the experiments are due 90 days after release of the FCC order, with selection expected by the end of 2014. The experiments will test service over diverse technologies, including fiber and wireless networks, and will be open to non-traditional providers, including electric utilities, wireless internet service providers, and others. To ensure diverse experiments, project sizes are capped, while entities serving Tribal lands are eligible for a 25% bidding credit. The FCC is also seeking comment on how the Connect America Phase II competitive bidding process can offer bidding credits when states provide matching funds to expand rural broadband.
ICS Mandatory Data Collection
The FCC extended the time for filing responses to the one-time, mandatory data collection adopted as part of its Inmate Calling Service Rates Order. The data must now be filed by August 18, 2014. The original date was July 17, 2014.
2014 Regulatory Fees
The FCC has extended the time for filing comments on its proposed regulatory fees for fiscal year 2014. Reply comments are now due July 21, 2014. They had been due July 14, 2014. TMI Regulatory Bulletin subscribers see Bulletin dated 6/17/14. The extension was granted in response to a request filed by the American Cable Association.