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.
In a response to members of Congress concerning its outreach efforts associated with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and the recent General Accounting Office report concerning those efforts, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler outlined the FCC’s efforts as follows. First, it has established an accessibility clearinghouse and expects to update it on a regular basis and code its contents so that they appear on Google for certain keyword searches. The FCC also intends to reach out to individual companies and trade associations whose product and service information are not presently on the website and to invite them to include such information to share with consumers. The FCC said it will measure the success of its outreach efforts by reviewing the number of website and individual page views. The clearinghouse page had 16,571 page views in the previous year (as measured on July 20, 2015). Visitors most frequently viewed pages on mobile devices, followed by views of assistive technologies and resources for developers.
To ensure that consumers with disabilities are aware of the CVAA’s protections and remedies, the FCC will continue to host seminars and webinars and give presentations at conferences, publish consumer guides and news releases, seek public comment on rulemakings and waiver requests, and update subscribers to its public e-mail service (Accesslnfo). To measure its success in satisfying this objective, the FCC will track the number of CVAA inquiries received and complaints filed with the FCC, as well as the frequency with which FCC staff informally works with consumers and companies to resolve disputes. The FCC said that between October 8, 2013, and April 1, 2015, it facilitated 48 informal disputes. To date, no complaints have been filed. The FCC said the fact that companies resolved disputes rather than letting them go to a complaint stage demonstrates its success in implementing the CVAA, including its outreach provisions.
Finally, it has established a Disability Advisory Committee, a federal advisory committee charged with making recommendations to the FCC on a full range of disability access issues.
Wireless carriers have asked the FCC to reconsider portions of its recent Lifeline order. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin dated 7/1/15. See our 6/19/15 Blog “FCC-Modernizes-Lifeline-Program-To-Support-Broadband-Services”. CTIA – The Wireless Association asked the FCC to reconsider its declarations that (1) Section 222(a) of the Communications Act (Act) imposes a duty of confidentiality upon carriers, other than with respect to Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), and (2) Section 201(b) of the Act imposes a duty upon carriers to implement data security measures. It asserts that the FCC’s statutory authority only extends to practices relating to CPNI, not to any other data security practices.
Separately, i-wireless LLC, Telrite Corporation, Assist Wireless, LLC, Total Call Mobile, LLC, American Broadband and Telecommunications Company, Telscape Communications, Inc./Sage Telecom Communications, LLC (d/b/a TruConnect), and Easy Telephone Services Company (dba Easy Wireless) asked the FCC to reconsider the method used to establish a uniform snapshot date for Lifeline reimbursements. The new rule takes a snapshot of an eligible telecommunications carrier’s (ETC) Lifeline subscribers as of the first of the month and provides reimbursements for the previous month’s service based on the number of subscribers in the snapshot. The petitioners argue that this will harm ETCs by forcing them to incur costs and provide service without reimbursement. To fix the problem, they ask the FCC to modify the rule to add to the snapshot count any subscribers de-enrolled in the previous month that received Lifeline service during that month. The Petitioners also seek clarification that the first month in which ETCs must use a snapshot is March 2016 and that the first payment that must be made pursuant to a first of the month snapshot is the March 2016 reimbursement for service provided in February 2016 (based on the March 1, 2016, snapshot).