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.
Form 477 Filing Update
The FCC announced that its Form 477 filing interface will remain closed until at least November 10, 2014. See the Regulatory Mix dated 10/8/14. After the site reopens, the FCC said it would release a Public Notice announcing the new filing deadline. The deadline will be no less than 14 days after the release of that Public Notice.
The FCC released the eligible services list (ESL) for funding year 2015 for the schools and libraries universal service support (E-rate) program and authorized the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to open the annual application filing window no earlier than December 29, 2014. The changes implement the FCC’s E-Rate Modernization Order. See the Regulatory Mix dated 7/15/14. Among the changes to the ESL are the following:
(1) The Priority One section has been renamed as Category One and the Priority Two section is now called Category Two. Each section identifies those services that are now eligible for Category One and Category Two support.
(2) Web hosting, voice mail, email, paging, directory assistance charges, text messaging, custom calling services, direct inward dialing, 900/976 call blocking, and inside wire maintenance plans have been removed from the ESL.
(3) New language clarifies that multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) is eligible for Category One E-rate support.
(4) Category Two support is limited to LAN/WLAN-focused components (called “broadband internal connections components” on the ESL), basic maintenance of eligible broadband internal connections components, and managed internal broadband services.
It limits internal connections to those broadband internal connections components and services needed to enable high-speed broadband connectivity.
(5) Caching is included as a Category Two service.
The FTC filed a complaint against AT&T Mobility, LLC, charging that the company misled millions of its smartphone customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while reducing their data speeds, in some cases by nearly 90%. Specifically, the FTC alleged that AT&T failed to adequately disclose that if customers on unlimited data plans reach a certain amount of data use in a given billing cycle AT&T would throttle their data speeds to the point that many applications (e.g., web browsing, GPS navigation, and streaming video) became difficult or nearly impossible to use. The FTC alleged that AT&T began throttling data speeds in 2011 after its unlimited data plan customers used as little as 2 gigabytes of data in a billing period. According to the complaint, the throttling program has been severe, often resulting in speed reductions of 80 to 90% for affected users. The FTC said that AT&T has throttled at least 3.5 million unique customers a total of more than 25 million times.
The PSC extended the time for implementing the new inmate calling service rules adopted at its September 30, 2014, meeting until 30 days from the date the Order is signed. When presenting the item at the meeting, PSC staff had indicated that implementation would be required by November 10, 2014. The text of the Order has not yet been released.