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.
Cable Inflation Adjustment
The FCC announced that the first quarter 2015 Inflation Adjustment Figures for cable operators that use FCC Form 1240 is -0.03%. The negative adjustment factor of -0.03% is a measure of the annualized change in prices occurring over the period from January 1, 2015, to March 31, 2015. FCC rules give regulated cable operators the option of filing for rate adjustments on an annual basis instead of quarterly. Form 1240, Annual Updating Of Maximum Permitted Rates For Regulated Cable Services, is used for this purpose.
Rural Broadband Deployment
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a statement on the need to extend broadband throughout rural America. Referring to his recent trip to Nebraska and Kansas, Commissioner Pai said he “had the privilege of seeing firsthand the opportunities that high-speed broadband can bring to rural America. For small towns, just as much as big cities, Internet access can help create jobs, promote entrepreneurship, and bind communities together.”
After recounting the stories behind the companies he visited, Commissioner Pai concluded that:
“These are just two examples of the great progress that is being made across the Great Plains when it comes to broadband deployment. But along with this good news, I also heard recurring concerns. Time and time again, I was told that the rising level of regulatory uncertainty coming from our nation’s capital was a major barrier to infrastructure investment. (One company said it recently stopped laying fiber entirely because it couldn’t predict the rules of the digital road—leaving at least one important business customer and many residential customers with degraded copper lines and less bandwidth.
And I repeatedly heard that the FCC needed to promote rural broadband deployment, including by changing Universal Service Fund rules that are holding back investment. In that regard, I was grateful to hear that numerous companies from each state were supportive of the detailed proposal I outlined on Monday for extending federal USF support to rate-of-return companies that offer stand-alone broadband service.”
See the Regulatory Mix dated 6/30/15 for more information on his proposal.
Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that establishes a new uniform 911 surcharge fee, a 911 Fund for the collection of surcharges, and procedures related to the distribution of the fee revenues. “Local governments have struggled to maintain adequate funding for 9-1-1 systems for far too long,” Governor Wolf said. “I commend the General Assembly for passing a bill that will bolster these institutions that are vital to maintaining public safety in our communities.” Act 12 – HB 911, introduced by Representative Stephen Barrar, amends Title 35 (Health & Safety) to further provide for emergency telephone service and that establishes the 911 Fund. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers, watch for our upcoming Bulletin.