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 Regulatory Mix will be on hiatus from December 24, 2014 through January 4, 2015 for the Holidays.
We wish you a Merry Season and a Happy New Year!
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against Sprint Corporation for illegally billing wireless consumers for tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party charges. This is the CFPB’s first complaint against a wireless carrier. Specifically, the CFPB alleges that Sprint, as a payment processor for third parties, violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s prohibition on unfair practices by: (1) allowing third-parties to illegally charge consumers; (2) automatically billing consumers for illegitimate charges without their consent; (3) disregarding red flags about third parties; and (4) ignoring consumer complaints about unauthorized charges. The CFPB seeks refunds for affected consumers and penalties to deter unauthorized third-party charges in the future. The CFPB said it worked in close coordination with the FCC and received “valuable assistance” from its Enforcement Bureau. The FCC and the FTC previously announced actions against Sprint for the same alleged cramming activities. See the Regulatory Mix dated 7/2/14.
In October 2014, the Connecticut PURA received a request to investigate the practice by The Southern New England Telephone Company (Frontier) of requiring customers to purchase Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) as a condition of obtaining Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The Authority issued a request for comments in November 2014. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 11/14/14. The Authority reports that in its written comments Frontier requested that the Authority dismiss the Connecticut Internet Service Providers Association (CTISPA) petition because the Authority does not have jurisdiction with respect to Wholesale DSL Transport (WDT). However, Frontier told the Authority that it has advised the CTISPA that it is prepared to voluntarily negotiate and implement new WDT contractual arrangements to replace the existing contract terms that Frontier assumed from AT&T. The new contract terms will be consistent with those in other states in which Frontier operates and will not include a requirement to purchase and maintain a POTS line in conjunction with the WDT service.
The Indiana URC established a procedural schedule in its docket considering CenturyLink’s request that it forbear from enforcing the Operating Support System (OSS) performance requirements that were first adopted in 1999. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 11/25/14. CenturyLink’s testimony is due by December 16, 2014; testimony from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and other intervenors is due January 6, 2015. An evidentiary hearing on the parties’ cases-in-chief will be held January 29, 2015.