Today’s Regulatory Mix: Colorado Gives Commission Authority Over Penal Communications Services, Senate Still Working Infrastructure Bill, Senator Thune Proposes FCC Over NTIA
Colorado Gives Commission Authority Over Penal Communications Services
Colorado Governor signed House Bill 21-1201 (HB1201) into law giving the Colorado Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulatory authority over Penal Communications Service Providers (PCSP). PCSPs are classified as a public utility under the authority of the PUC and are subject to the quarterly PUC Administration Fee. Additional changes to statutes include new reporting requirements and rate caps.
HB1201 has given the PUC authority to regulate rates and charges, correct abuses, or prevent unjust discrimination regarding PCSPs. The law changes the statutory definition of “non-optional operator services” to include operator services for inmates at correctional facilities. Under existing PUC rules, “non-optional operator service” providers may register with the PUC and are not required to file tariffs. HB1201 became effective June 30, 2021. Inteserra Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 8/5/21.
Senate Still Working Infrastructure Bill
U.S. Senators are still working to finalize amendments to the 2,700-page infrastructure bill. Little is expected to be accomplished Friday as many senators fly to Wyoming for the funeral of former Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said “We have been trying to vote on amendments all day but have encountered numerous objections from the other side,” he said. “However, we very much want to finish this important bipartisan bill, so we will reconvene Saturday.”
Senator Thune Proposes FCC Over NTIA
Like the message delivered by Senator Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) the day before, Senator John Thune (R, S.D.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, expressed concern with the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s proposed role overseeing broadband under the infrastructure package. “Because a lot of the money allocated for expanding access – more than $42 billion – would be funneled not through the Federal Communications Commission, where the majority of the government’s broadband expertise resides, but through the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (or NTIA), which has previously fumbled attempts to bring broadband access to more communities.” Thune proposed putting the FCC in charge of disbursing broadband funds. “In contrast to NTIA, which has just 157 employees, the Federal Communications Commission employs more than 1,400 people. It has the staffing resources it needs in-house to administer this grant program. The FCC also – crucially – has the necessary expertise to identify truly unserved areas, so that federal dollars go to communities with the most significant lack of broadband access.”
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related 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 an Inteserra Briefing.