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.
US Supreme Court
Several parties have asked the US Supreme Court to review the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the FCC’s 2011 Order reforming its intercarrier compensation (access charge) and universal service regimes. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) petition focused on the FCC’s redefinition of Reciprocal Compensation to include Access Charges and its decision to set the rate for the newly combined regimes at zero, thereby usurping authority otherwise reserved for the states. NARUC also sought review of the FCC’s decision to extend the federal USF to cover broadband services. US Cellular Corp. sought review of the FCC’s decision to require recipients of universal service support to provide broadband Internet access service subject to common-carrier regulation under Title II of the Act. Cellular South and the Rural Independent Competitive Alliance asked the Court to review whether the FCC “which has no statutory authority to regulate broadband Internet access providers as common carriers,” may nevertheless condition Universal Service Fund payments to such providers on their performance of duties of common carriage. Finally, Allband Communications Cooperative asked the Court to decide whether the FCC acted unlawfully when it changed the USF program and “drastically” reduced its federal USF support.
Republican Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology responded to the FCC’s vote regarding #openinternet:
“Resorting to Great Depression-era rules will trigger a stampede to the courts, unleashing years of lawsuits and uncertainty at a time when U.S. leadership and the Internet economy are more important than ever. We believe the Internet has worked well under current rules, but we were – and we remain – willing to come to the table with legislation to answer the calls for legally sustainable consumer protections for the free and open Internet that has fostered a generation of innovation, economic growth, and global empowerment.”
Read the complete release here.
At its February 26, 2015, Open Meeting, the FCC voted to reclassify broadband internet access – the retail broadband service Americans buy from cable, phone, and wireless providers – as a telecommunications service and subject it to a “light-touch, Title II” regulatory approach similar to that used to regulate mobile voice services. Saying it was “tailoring the application of Title II for the 21st century,” the FCC announced new rules to ensure that America’s broadband networks are fast, fair, and open. Significantly, the new rules will apply equally to fixed and mobile broadband networks. See TMI’s Blog “FCC Adopts Net Neutrality Rules” dated 2/27/15. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 2/27/15.
Among the topics to be explored are:
- VoIP: What is regulated and what is not
- Best Practices for De-tariffing
- Step 4 in Access Reduction
- Distinction between end office and transport
- Special Access – what’s next?
- IP Transition progress
- Open Internet/Net Neutrality and Interconnection
- Internet under Title II
- Review of Telecom Regulatory Reports and Obligations for CLECs, VoIPs, OSPs, IXCs, and others (format & scheduling, too)
- Form 499 Details and Developments
- USF Exemption Certificates
- Telecom Audits