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.
July 2015 Access Tariff Revisions
The FCC released a Public Notice containing the Protective Order that should be used by carriers seeking to obtain access to confidential information provided with the 2015 annual access charge tariff filings. Since there will be limited time for review, the FCC suggests that carriers complete the necessary declaration ahead of time to expedite obtaining and reviewing confidential information.
Rural Broadband Experiments
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau announced that it is ready to authorize support for 15 provisionally selected rural broadband experiment bids. The bids cover 2,091 census blocks in eight states for a total of $12,573,494.45 in support. In order to receive support, the provisionally selected bidders must submit at least one acceptable irrevocable stand-by letter of credit (LOC) and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter from their legal counsel by June 10, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The provisionally selected bids that are ready to be authorized are as follows:
The Kansas Corporation Commission issued an order that will change the way the Kansas Universal Service Fund is assessed for ILECs. Currently, ILECs are assessed on a per-line basis and all other providers are assessed using a percentage basis. Starting no later than March 1, 2016, ILECs will be assessed under the percentage assessment methodology. The Commission said that the uniform methodology would be more competitively and technologically neutral and will ensure that all carriers and subscribers are on an equal footing. The ILECs were directed to provide notice to their customers and the Commission before implementing the percentage assessment rate methodology.
Earlier this month, Vermont Gov. Shumlin announced nearly $900,000 in broadband grants. Eight rural, underserved Vermont communities are getting help to boost broadband internet speeds. “I’m proud that we have reached near universal broadband coverage in this state in the last four years,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Now our focus has to turn to improving the infrastructure we have rolled out so that it keeps pace with the changing needs of a 21st century economy. That means boosting broadband speeds, and these grants will do that in some of the hardest to reach Vermont towns.” The largest award, $354,000, will go the ECFiber to serve addresses in the towns of Norwich, Pittsfield, Randolph, and Royalton. FairPoint will receive $290,000 to serve addresses in Reading and Bradford. Comcast will receive $230,640 to serve addresses in Norwich, Jamaica, and Rochester.