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 is seeking comment on a number of issues relating to the establishment of a permanent National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP). The NDBEDP supports the distribution of communications devices to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind. The NDBEDP has been operating as a pilot program since July 1, 2012. The rules governing the pilot program will expire on June 30, 2015. Accordingly, the FCC is seeking comment on which rules have been effective and should remain in place and which rules should be modified to make the permanent NDBEDP more effective and more efficient. Areas for comment include program structure, funding, consumer eligibility, equipment, individualized assessment of communications needs, installation and training, outreach and education, and oversight and reporting. Comments are due August 22, 2014; reply comments are due September 5, 2014.
The FCC issued a $100,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Hinton Telephone Company for failure to route 911 calls to the appropriate emergency authority. Specifically, the FCC found that Hinton Telephone Company “undermined that trust and betrayed its customers when for several months in 2013 it apparently routed 911 calls from Caddo County, Oklahoma, to an automated AT&T operator message which instructed callers to “hang up and dial 911” if their call is an emergency. That trust was further betrayed when Hinton allegedly continued to allow 911 calls to be routed to the automated message for three months after the company discovered the problem.” The FCC characterized Hinton’s actions as “manifestly unacceptable” and “unconscionable,” thereby warranting a substantial penalty. The FCC said that once Hinton learned that 911 calls from its Caddo County customers were being routed to an automated message, it was obligated under §64.3002(d) of the FCC’s rules to “reassess its call routing protocols and ascertain whether, based on the exercise of reasonable judgment, there was an alternative appropriate local emergency authority to which it could route its 911 calls.”
The New Mexico Hearing Examiner presiding over the proceeding to consider the request of Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC to add the Farmington Main wire center to its list of non-impaired wire centers has issued a procedural schedule in the case. See the Regulatory Mix dated 7/23/14; TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 7/15/14. By August 29, 2014, CenturyLink must publish the Notice of Proceeding specified by the Commission and send a copy of the Notice to all CLECs registered in New Mexico. Thereafter: CenturyLink must file its direct testimony and confidential versions of its redacted attachments by September 3, 2014; Petitions to intervene must be filed by September 19, 2014; intervenor testimony must be filed by September 26, 2014; staff testimony must be filed by October 10, 2014, and rebuttal testimony must be filed by October 17, 2014. A hearing will be held November 12 – 13, 2014 if required.