Today’s Regulatory Mix: Ninth Circuit Sides with Wide Voice, Pleading Cycle Set on PUC’s Outage Reporting Petition for Reconsideration, Wisconsin Applicants Request $420 Million for Broadband
Ninth Circuit Sides with Wide Voice
The Ninth Circuit issued an opinion today concluding that the FCC impermissibly disregarded the “deemed lawful” status of Wide Voice’s tariffs in contravention of Congress’ unambiguously expressed intent to provide a mechanism to achieve that “deemed lawful” status. Wide Voice petitioned the Ninth Circuit after the FCC determined that Wide Voice’s tariffed rates were void ab initio because they violated the FCC’s benchmarking rule by exceeding the established step-down rates. According to the Ninth Circuit, “We hold that the FCC did not err in concluding that Wide Voice’s tariff violated the benchmarking rule by deviating from the established stepdown rates. However, the FCC’s determination that the tariff was void ab initio after being ‘deemed lawful’ in accordance with the governing statute was arbitrary and capricious.”
Pleading Cycle Set on PUC’s Outage Reporting Petition for Reconsideration
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) filed a petition in PS docket 15-80 asking the FCC to reconsider its decision in its March network outage reporting order “to maintain the presumption of confidentiality of all information contained in Network Outage Reporting System and Disaster Information Reporting System filings.” According to the CPUC, the FCC erred in reaching this determination without first seeking comments on the issue. The CPUC requests the FCC provide stakeholders the opportunity to comment now. The pleading cycle has now been set. Oppositions to the petition must be filed on or before August 13, 2021. Replies to an opposition must be filed on or before August 23, 2021.
Wisconsin Applicants Request $420 Million for Broadband
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) announced that 240 applications have been received requesting more than $420 million for the first round of broadband funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Funding for the grants was made available by Governor Tony Evers in May 2021. The PSC anticipates awarding $100 million in the early fall of 2021 for projects that will expand high-speed broadband internet to unserved and underserved locations in the state. “I declared 2021 the Year of Broadband Access because this past year underscored just how critical it is for every Wisconsinite to have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet service,” said Governor Evers. “While we continue working to make sure our state and our economy continue rebounding from the pandemic, expanding broadband access must continue to be a top priority. I’m proud to be directing these funds to those who need them most as we continue our work to make broadband affordable and accessible for folks across our state.”
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.