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 Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet announced it will hold a hearing entitled “Lifeline: Improving Accountability and Effectiveness” on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. The hearing will examine the FCC’s progress in reforming the Lifeline program and how to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the program. The hearing follows the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recent report recommending that the FCC evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of Lifeline. See the Regulatory Mix dated 5/8/15.
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau is asking for comments by June 22, 2015, on the proposed Eligible Services List (ESL) for the E-Rate program for funding year 2016. Reply comments are due July 6, 2015. Among the proposed changes are the following:
- Changes in eligibility for dark fiber to reflect the new options made available in FCC’s 2014 Order; (See the Regulatory Mix dated 12/12/14. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 1/19/15.)
- Adding equipment necessary to make a broadband service functional to the list of eligible costs for leased lit fiber, dark fiber, and self-provisioned broadband networks;
- Clarification of the treatment of ISDN connections; and
- Clarification of the eligibility of firewall services and components.
911 Reliability Certifications
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced that an initial version of the FCC’s online system for filing 911 reliability certifications is now available for user testing. Covered 911 service providers are invited to log in, test the system, practice submitting certification information, and provide feedback within 30 days. Information submitted during the testing period will not count toward Initial Reliability Certifications or bind certifying entities to particular responses and will be deleted when the actual production system opens for submissions. Because user identities in the test system are not transferred to the production system, users will have to create a new user identity on the production system. See the Public Notice here. An Initial Reliability Certification of substantial progress toward meeting the requirements of the full Annual Reliability Certification will be due October 15, 2015. See the Regulatory Mix dated 12/1/14 (Substantial progress is defined as compliance with standards of the full certification in at least 50% of the Covered 911 service provider’s critical 911 circuits, central offices that directly serve PSAPs and independently monitored 911 service areas.)
On May 20, 2015, the Legislature sent an omnibus bill to the Governor’s office. Section 19 of the bill would amend (§216B.164) net metering as it applies to cooperative electric associations and municipal utilities having less than 40-kW capacity. The new provisions would apply to customers installing net metered systems after the effective date. If signed by the Governor, the bill would have allowed cooperative electric associations and municipal utilities to charge an additional fee to recover the fixed costs not already paid for by the customer through the customer’s existing billing arrangement. The bill passed with a vote of 75-9 in the House and by 34-29 in the Senate. On May 23, 2015, the Governor vetoed HF 1437 saying that among other things the bill “will disincentivize the use of wind and solar power.” Click here to read Governor Dayton’s veto letter.