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 announced a new online consumer help center at http://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.
The center is intended to more efficiently link consumers to the information they need and make it easier for them to file complaints. The new help center includes:
- A streamlined, user-friendly complaint filing system;
- Access to information in six major categories – TV, Phone, Internet, Radio, Access for People With Disabilities, and Emergency Communications;
- The ability for consumers to monitor complaints, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; and
- Faster delivery of complaints to service providers.
The FCC expects that the new help center will “streamline the process of synthesizing and analyzing consumer complaint trends, and will make more of that data readily accessible to the public.”
The PSC released its annual Report on Lifeline Assistance presenting Lifeline participation data for the July 2013 through June 2014 program year. According to the Report, as of June 30, 2014, 957,792 eligible Florida telecommunications customers participated in the Lifeline program, which equates to approximately one of every eight Florida households. This is a 4.3 percent increase from last year’s subscribers. Approximately 50% of all Lifeline-eligible Florida households are receiving Lifeline assistance. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) continues to be the largest qualifying program for Lifeline Assistance in Florida. Based upon June 2014 SNAP participants, however, the Lifeline eligible households decreased by 1.2 percent compared to 2013 data, which may reflect the improving Florida economy. In Florida, 22 telecommunication companies, including four wireless carriers, participate in the federal Lifeline program offering customers who participate in certain public assistance programs a discount of at least $9.25 per month, or a free Lifeline cell phone and monthly minutes from certain wireless providers.