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 Briefing.
House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) announced the topics that will be considered by the subcommittee in the coming weeks. This includes oversight of the FCC, a look at the economic impacts of the FCC’s net neutrality rules, and a hearing on fostering the continued deployment of broadband infrastructure.
The FCC announced the agenda for its October 22, 2015, Open Meeting. It will consider seven items including an item regarding rates for inmate calling services. That item is a Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would adopt comprehensive reform of intrastate, interstate, and international ICS calls to ensure just, reasonable and fair ICS rates and seek comment on additional measures the FCC could take to ensure that interstate and intrastate ICS is provided consistent with the statute and public interest. The other items address foreign ownership policies for broadcast, common carrier and aeronautical radio licensees, expanding the economic and innovation opportunities of spectrum through incentive auctions, structure and practices of the Video Relay Service program; and use of spectrum bands above 24 GHz for mobile radio services.
Commissioner Ajit Pai released a statement “On Promoting Broadband Deployment Throughout America” in which he recounts his visit to Carbon Hill, Alabama, one of two locations taking part in AT&T’s IP Transition Trial and to MaxxSouth Broadband, which is experimenting with advanced fiber deployment in parts of Mississippi. He stated that: “The one refrain I have repeatedly heard from these operators is the need for regulatory certainty if they are going to continue investing in their networks. It’s no secret that the broadband providers substantially reduced their capital expenditures once it was clear that broadband would be subject to 20th-century utility regulation. And I saw on this trip even more evidence of how old rules are deterring new investments, and how regulatory uncertainty is deterring private enterprise from taking on new risks. I hope the FCC will soon learn what the American people already know: That innovation is not a threat, but an opportunity for a better tomorrow.”
District of Columbia
The District of Columbia Universal Service Trust Fund Administrator, Solix, Inc. submitted a proposed 2016 calendar year budget, including a proposed assessment rate of 0.000954 or 0.0954%. Among other things, the Proposed Budget includes a decrease in the Lifeline distribution line item; an increase for the Telecommunications Reply Service line item; and a reduction in the fund balance by $400,000. The proposed budget combined with the reported and estimated retail revenues is below the current assessment rate. Click here for more details.
The PSC unveiled a natural gas price comparison website Michigan.gov/CompareMIGas to help customers make informed decisions when choosing a provider. The website, www.Michigan.gov/CompareMIGas includes the prices currently charged by all alternative gas suppliers (AGSs) actively marketing or enrolling customers in Michigan, as well as the basic terms and conditions of their offers. It also features the current gas cost recovery factor (GCR) price charged by regulated natural gas utilities that offer natural gas choice in their territories: DTE Gas Company, Consumers Energy Company, SEMCO Energy Gas Company, and Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation.