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.
Lifeline Awareness Week
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) the FCC, and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates have designated September 14-20 as “National Telephone Discount Lifeline Awareness Week.” Based on a resolution the NARUC Board of Directors passed at the 2009 Summer Committee Meetings, the Week is designed to both raise awareness of and participation in Lifeline a federal/State program that helps make telephone service more affordable for qualified customers. This year’s Lifeline Awareness Week will focus on Reform. The FCC prepared a broad array of materials to educate consumers about the program, with an emphasis on new rules recently enacted governing eligibility criteria and non-duplication of assistance. Educational and outreach materials are available in English and Spanish.
The Federal Trade Commission issued a Statement of Enforcement Principles describing the underlying antitrust principles that guide it’s application of its statutory authority to take action against “unfair methods of competition” prohibited by Section 5 of the FTC Act but not necessarily by the Sherman or Clayton Act. The FTC said it will adhere to the following principles when deciding whether to use its standalone authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to challenge unfair methods of competition:
- the FTC will be guided by the public policy underlying the antitrust laws, namely, the promotion of consumer welfare;
- the act or practice will be evaluated under a framework similar to the rule of reason, that is, an act or practice challenged by the FTC must cause, or be likely to cause, harm to competition or the competitive process, taking into account any associated cognizable efficiencies and business justifications; and
- the FTC is less likely to challenge an act or practice as an unfair method of competition on a standalone basis if enforcement of the Sherman or Clayton Act is sufficient to address the competitive harm arising from the act or practice.