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.
In a speech at the COMPTEL Fall Convention & Expo, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler talked about the three keys to preserving network competition: access to last mile facilities, the future of copper networks, and VoIP interconnection. He noted that competitive carriers had expressed concerns about “lock-up provisions” in existing special access contracts and said that he had directed FCC staff to “recommend ways to alleviate the impact of such provisions on the tech transitions.” He also discussed the need to consider the policy implications of retiring the existing copper network, including whether competitors should be allowed to buy copper networks being taken off line and how the FCC can make sure that copper networks that are not retired are adequately maintained. He said he intended to propose a “series of measures to address these and related issues, while ensuring that incumbents and competitive providers alike are not held back in fiber deployment. Our goal should be to improve our copper retirement process to strengthen our core values, including competition.”
On the issue of VoIP interconnection Wheeler said he hoped that CLECs and ILECs could reach interconnection agreements on reasonable terms on their own. “But if a voluntary effort cannot resolve the issues and the public interest is not being served, then let there be no mistake: the FCC will act.” Wheeler also said that the FCC was “studying” the issue of whether VoIP interconnection obligations under section 251 of the Communications Act exist independent of technology and that “[r]egardless of the specific vehicle we use, I am convinced that Congress gave the Commission ample authority to address this issue and that we will not hesitate to do so if circumstances require.”
The Louisiana Public Service Commission closed its 2004 docket considering the development of rules for VoIP providers. No rules were adopted. The PSC said that it may initiate a new rulemaking if legislative or FCC action on VoIP affects the PSC, its jurisdiction, Louisiana ratepayers, or Louisiana utility companies and common carriers. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 10/6/14