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.
In response to a request from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report containing the results of its review of the FCC’s efforts to reform the Lifeline program. The report concludes that, while the FCC has made progress in implementing some program reforms, it “has not evaluated Lifeline’s effectiveness in achieving its goals – to ensure the availability of voice service for low-income Americans and minimize the burden on consumers and businesses that fund the program.” The report recommends that the FCC conduct a program evaluation to determine the extent to which the Lifeline program is efficiently and effectively reaching its performance goals. The FCC agreed. The report examines (1) the status of reform efforts and the extent to which FCC has evaluated program effectiveness, (2) the extent to which households participate and challenges they face in accessing and retaining benefits, and (3) FCC’s plans to evaluate the broadband pilot program. GAO reviewed FCC orders and other relevant documentation; analyzed 2008 – 2012 Census Bureau data; and interviewed FCC officials, officials at four pilot projects selected based on features such as technology, and officials from twelve Lifeline providers and four states that were selected based on factors such as disbursements and participation.
A rulemaking hearing will be held at the PSC offices regarding the proposal to rescind and consolidate telecommunication rules. The meeting is scheduled for July 6, 2015. The PSC intends to rescind existing rules found in Chapters 2, 3, 30, 32, and 33. Many of those rules will be eliminated entirely; those that remain necessary will be incorporated into a new Chapter 28. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletins dated 4/20/15 and 5/6/14.