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 House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that its Communications and Technology Subcommittee will hold an FCC oversight hearing focusing on the FCC’s consideration of Net Neutrality rules on December 10, 2014. Reacting to the President’s statement in favor of net neutrality (See the Regulatory Mix dated 11/10/14) Committee Chairman Fred Upton said, in part: “Ignoring the term ‘independent agency,’ the president this week wanted the world to know who was boss when it comes to net neutrality. As the FCC moves closer to a vote that could put the government in control of the Internet, it is imperative that the Congress hears directly from all five commissioners and leading stakeholders.” Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden added that “While the president remains steadfast in his support for a government take-over of another critical piece of the American economy, the FCC commissioners must remain resolute in our nation’s commitment to keep the Internet free of government control. The commission’s vote may be weeks or months off, but this issue is critical to the future growth of the American economy. Treating the Internet as a public utility would tie the hands of job creators, stifle innovation on the information superhighway, and hurt consumers by depriving them of the freedom of choosing the services they want.”
The FCC announced that it received almost 600 project bids in response to its call for rural broadband experiment proposals. The bids came from 181 applicants and represent nearly $885 million worth of projects. In total, the 181 applicants proposed to serve over 76,000 census blocks in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Bidders included a diverse group of entities, including competitive providers, electric utilities, wireless internet service providers, and others. In the coming weeks, FCC staff will identify the provisionally winning bidders, who then will be required to submit information demonstrating their financial and technical ability to participate in the $100 million experiment. Finalists that are able to meet financial, technical and other regulatory requirements could launch their experiments as early as spring 2015.