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.
Broadband Opportunity Council
A newly released Report and Recommendation from the Broadband Opportunity Council (Council) on how the government can support broadband deployment and adoption makes four overarching recommendations: 1. Modernize Federal programs to expand program support for broadband investments; 2. Empower communities with tools and resources to attract broadband investment and promote meaningful use; 3. Promote increased broadband deployment and competition through expanded access to Federal assets; and 4. Improve data collection, analysis, and research on broadband.
To pursue these objectives, Federal Agencies will take dozens of actions over the next 18 months. These include commitments to:
- Modernize Federal programs valued at approximately $10 billion to include broadband as an eligible program expenditure, such as the Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities program, which will help communities around the country bring broadband to health clinics and recreation centers;
- Create an online inventory of data on Federal assets, such as Department of the Interior telecommunications towers, that can help support faster and more economical broadband deployments to remote areas of the country;
- Streamline the applications for programs and broadband permitting processes to support broadband deployment and foster competition; and
- Create a portal for information on Federal broadband funding and loan programs to help communities easily identify resources as they seek to expand access to broadband.
The Council was created by the President of the United States in March 2015. It was tasked to produce specific recommendations to increase broadband deployment, competition, and adoption through executive actions within the scope of existing Agency programs, missions, and budgets.
In response to the Report, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said: “Today’s White House report sends a clear and vital message: access to broadband means access to opportunity. The FCC remains committed to working with government and private-sector partners to harness the power of broadband to grow our economy and improve the lives of American people.”
The PUC issued a Decision adopting an expanded scope, a definition, and a goal for the integration of distributed energy resources. It establishes a foundation for the integration of demand-side resources, i.e., integration of distributed energy resources (DERs). The PUC said that it intends to focus on ways to optimize DERs versus integrated demand-side management (i.e., programs and services offered by the utility to the customer). The scope of the proceeding was expanded to consider a framework based on the entire energy production and delivery system from the customer side to the utility side. The PUC will also consider the issue of localized incentives. R.14-10-003; D.15-09-022