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.
President Obama and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announced, ConnectHome, an initiative to extend affordable broadband access to families living in HUD-assisted housing. Through ConnectHome, Internet Service Providers, non-profits, and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units in 28 communities across the nation. The 27 cities and one tribal nation selected to participate through a competitive process are: Albany, GA; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Boston, MA; Camden, NJ; Choctaw Nation, OK; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Durham, NC; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; Macon, GA; Memphis, TN; Meriden, CT; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Rockford, IL; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Springfield, MA; Tampa, FL; and Washington, DC.
Eight nationwide Internet Service Providers including; Google Fiber, Cherokee Communications, Pine Telephone, Suddenlink Communications, Vyve Broadband, CenturyLink, Cox Communications, and Sprint have announced they are partnering with mayors, public housing authorities, non-profit groups, and for-profit entities to bridge the gap in digital access for students living in assisted housing units. ConnectHome seeks to make broadband Internet: (1) more adoptable by building new models to provide broadband infrastructure and to offer residents free or discounted service; (2) more valuable by giving residents localized, free, and culturally sensitive training in essential digital literacy skills that will allow them to effectively utilize high-speed Internet; and (3) sustainable by providing devices and technical support to our residents and by refocusing existing HUD resources to supplement and sustain the work of ConnectHome.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel issued a statement in response to the announcement saying in part: “I applaud the announcement of the ConnectHome initiative, which promises to help get some of the most disconnected Americans and their kids online.”
USAC reminded contributors to take the steps necessary to ensure their network firewalls do not treat USAC-issued Electronic Remittance Statements like SPAM or a virus. This may happen because USAC sends most remittance statements as a file attachment (.docx) and often includes a hyperlink that provides you details on understanding your statement. Providers are urged to be sure that their IT administrator “whitelists” email@example.com and allows hyperlinks and attachments from this email address.
A recent blog posting updates the FCC’s progress towards process reform. Improvements highlighted include:
- The revamped consumer help center with user-friendly web portal
- Reworking FCC.Gov searchability and navigability (ongoing improvements)
- Updating ECFS, the Electronic Comment Filing System (rolling out this Summer)
- New Consent Agenda approach used to speed voting on items
- Electronic processing and transmittal of Federal Register submissions
- New procedures implemented for processing of USAC appeals
The FCC also said it plans to deploy new IT tracking and collaboration tool capability and more electronic filing and automated processes.