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.
Rural Call Completion
Senators Amy Klobucher (D-MN) and John Tester (D-MT) introduced S.827, the “Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act.” The Act directs the FCC to: (1) establish basic quality standards for providers that transmit voice calls to help prevent the discriminatory delivery of calls to any and all areas of the US; (2) require such providers to register with the FCC. These reforms are intended to ensure small businesses, families, and emergency responders in rural America can once again rely upon their telephone calls being completed. The legislation is supported by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, and the Western Telecommunications Alliance.
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) reintroduced the FCC Collaboration Act of 2015 (H.R. 1396) which allows for a bipartisan majority of commissioners to meet for collaborative discussions. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Under this bill, three or more Commissioners may meet in a closed door meeting with three members of a Federal-State Joint Board so long as the meeting is: (1) Bipartisan; (2) No official action is taken; (3) No outside parties are present; and (4) An attorney from the FCC’s Office of General Counsel is present to monitor the deliberations and disclose a summary of those discussions within two business days of such a meeting.
Cell Phone Unlocking
Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced The Unlocking Technology Act of 2015, that expands and improves on cell phone unlocking legislation signed into law last year by allowing consumers to permanently unlock all their mobile devices and media in ways that do not infringe on existing copyrights. The bill would also permit the use and sale of tools — like software apps — that enable unlocking for uses that do not infringe on copyright. Consumers would not be required to obtain permission from their carrier before switching to a new carrier. The legislation further requires these changes be included in any international trade agreements.
The PSC has proposed amendments to the Rules Governing Certification and Operation of Telecommunications Relay Service. Among other things, the proposed revisions would replace the limited term and permanent certificate options with a single certificate with an initial term between three and five years, streamline the billing proposals submitted with certificate applications, and modify the billing rates. Comments on the proposed rules may be filed no later than May 18; 2015; reply comments are due June 17, 2015. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 3/24/15.
TMI’s Spring Telecom Regulatory Seminar & Workshop – April 30 & May 1, 2015, in Maitland, FL.