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.
February Open Meeting
The FCC announced the agenda for its February 18, 2016, Open Meeting. The following items are on the agenda:
- Promoting Diverse and Independent Programming: A Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on the current state of programming diversity and the principal obstacles that independent programmers face in obtaining carriage on video distribution platforms.
- Expanding Consumer Choice: A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a framework for providing innovators, device manufacturers, and app developers the information they need to develop new technologies to access video content.
- Closed Captioning of Video Programming: A Second Report and Order that allocates responsibilities for the delivery of closed captions on video programming and the handling of captioning complaints.
The Commissioners will also consider a Consent Agenda that includes three enforcement items (no details available).
Service to Cuba
The FCC is seeking comment on a proposal to remove the nondiscrimination requirements from the U.S.- Cuba route. Currently, the Commission’s nondiscrimination rules require that the terms and conditions of any operating agreement to provide facilities-based switched voice service on the U.S.- Cuba route between a U.S. carrier and a carrier with market power in Cuba must be identical to the equivalent terms and conditions in the agreement of any other U.S. carrier providing the same or similar service between the United States and Cuba. Cuba is the only country to which these requirements still apply. Responding to a recommendation from the State Department, the FCC seeks comment on whether it should now remove these requirements and whether removal would lead to more direct agreements between U.S. carriers and the state-owned telecommunications operator, ETECSA, and encourage competition on the U.S.- Cuba route. The FCC is not proposing to change the current benchmark settlement rate for telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba. Comments will be due 30 days after publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register; reply comments will be due 45 days after publication.
The PSC is seeking comment on Staff’s proposed amendments to its inmate calling services rules that are intended to bring them into conformance with the FCC’s ICS rules. Among other things, Staff is proposing that the PSC revise its prepaid rates caps to mirror those adopted by the FCC and to revise the billed-collect rate caps to the lesser of the FCC rate or the PSC’s rate. Comments on the proposed rule changes are due February 29, 2016. The PSC also delayed the date for the 2016 annual document retention report with ICS call data and said it would release a report template and instructions next week. TMI Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 2/11/16.
In a 3-2 vote, the PUC adopted revised regulations of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS Act) of 2004, clarifying certain issues related to net metering, interconnection and compliance provisions. Among other things, the rulemaking addresses the following:
- Revisions to net metering rules and inclusion of a process for obtaining PUC approval to net meter alternative energy systems with a nameplate capacity of 500 kilowatts or greater;
- Clarification of the virtual meter aggregation language; and
- Clarification of net metering compensation for customer-generators receiving generation service from electric distribution companies, default service providers, and electric generation suppliers.
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