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.
Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced they had reached an agreement with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to amend the FCC’s plans to close FCC field offices. As a result, the hearing on the FCC’s plan to close two-thirds of its field offices that was scheduled for June 11, 2015 has been cancelled. See the Regulatory Mix dated 6/3/15. The revised plan will keep 15 of the FCC’s 24 field offices open (versus 8 in the original plan), ensure better rapid response capabilities for the west, provide a mechanism for escalating interference complaints, improve enforcement of the FCC’s rules against pirate radio operators, and prevent the FCC from transferring field office jobs to the FCC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a Statement saying he had circulated a revised plan to the other Commissioners and urging them to approve the revised plan “with dispatch.”
The PURA issued the scoping notice in its investigation into an alternative regulation framework for Frontier. See the Regulatory Mix dated 5/14/15. The Authority will examine: Service provisioning (wholesale and retail); Network modernization, integrity, and security; Service quality; Service outage management; Preventive maintenance; and Financial performance. In addition the Authority will include consideration of any requirements deemed necessary to address issues raised before the FCC in the Open Internet Order. It intends to identify and establish a regulatory framework that: Encourages deployment of new technologies in Connecticut by all interested parties; Preserves the public’s interest in safe, reliable and affordable services from all authorized providers; Affords transparency and equity to every authorized services-provider interested in serving Connecticut; Ensures accountability to both state and federal regulatory authorities commensurate with their duties and obligations; and Recognizes the need for periodic change to achieve its stated purpose. Frontier has been directed to submit a Comprehensive Alternative Regulation Plan (CARP) for full consideration and adoption.
The parties in the UTC’s complaint against CenturyLink have filed a Settlement Agreement with the Commission. See the Regulatory Mix dated 5/5/15 and 4/28/15. The Agreement is intended to resolve all issues raised in the docket. CenturyLink will pay a penalty of $50,000 to the Commission. In addition CenturyLink will develop an emergency communications plan for use during major outages and a separate emergency communications plan for San Juan County. CenturyLink notified the Commission that spectrum for the two microwave systems has been approved by the FCC and Canadian authorities. The systems are fully operational and will provide sufficient capacity to maintain CenturyLink’s intrastate voice and critical services traffic, such as 911 and SS7 links, on a diverse route between the islands and the mainland at normal call volumes. CenturyLink agreed to specific annual inspections and reporting requirements, which will expire March 31, 2025. It will replace facilities in six counties by December 31, 2015, (King, Stevens, Pierce, Ferry, Cowlitz, and Walla Walla) in order to improve service quality to customers.