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.
Report on PSAP Architecture
The FCC announced the availability of the Final Report of the Task Force on Optimal Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Architecture. (The Task Force is a federal advisory committee charged with providing recommendations to the FCC regarding actions that PSAPs can take to optimize their security, operations, and funding as they implement Next Generation 911.) The report includes recommendations from the Task Force’s three working groups: Working Group 1 – Cybersecurity: Optimal Approach for PSAPs; Working Group 2 – Optimal 911 Service Architecture; and Working Group 3 – Optimal Resource Allocation. The Report is available here. The Task Force will continue to work under its charter, which expires in December 2016. Further work to be performed by the Task Force will be announced by future public notice.
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau announced that the third Local Number Portability Administrator (LNPA) Transition Outreach and Education Plan (TOEP) webcast will be held on March 9, 2016, from 3:00-4:00 pm EST. The webcast will be hosted by Price Waterhouse Coopers, LLP, the Transition Oversight Manager for the LNPA transition. The webcast is designed to keep interested parties informed about the upcoming LNPA transition. Interested parties may register for the webcast by visiting this link. The objectives for the webcasts are three-fold: (1) To provide transparent communications regarding the LNPA Transition; (2) To serve as an open forum to gather and understand needs and concerns; and, (3) To incorporate feedback to improve future communications. The agenda will be published on the LNPA Transition tab of the napmllc.org website one week prior to the webcast.
At its winter meeting, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) adopted several resolutions related to telecommunications.
On Lifeline reform, NARUC urged the FCC to provide for a state role in any reformed federal Lifeline “Coordinated Enrollment/De-enrollment” process, such as the centralization of those functions with state or federal expert agencies, and to help the states defray any cost associated with making customer eligibility information available to the centralized database. NARUC also urges that the FCC and states consider: (1) administering the program at a central source to lower the overall costs for the Lifeline program and reduce instances of carrier abuse; and (2) cooperating to facilitate access, directly or indirectly, to state social service databases for the purpose of verifying a Lifeline service applicant’s eligibility for the program.
On the IP transition, NARUC urged the FCC to adopt specific criteria to use in evaluating applications to discontinue retail telecommunications services that preserve fundamental features of legacy services such as connection quality, 9-1-1 and NG-911 access, competitive interconnection, interoperability, affordability, and services for those with disabilities and to take note of and implement the recommendations of the states in any decision on the service discontinuance process. NARUC also urged the FCC to develop specific objective criteria with which to evaluate whether wholesale services should be preserved and continued after the ILEC transitions to alternative technologies, allowing the states to balance existing policies regarding wholesale access and obligations with the benefits of investment in reliable, robust, and innovative networks.
Rights of Way, Pole Attachments, and Easement
A third resolution calls for streamlined access to rights of way (ROW), pole attachments and easement on federal lands to accelerate broadband deployment. NARUC also called for collaboration among the agencies at the federal, state, US Territories, local and tribal governments, as well as in consultation with private industry, to work together to identify existing barriers and develop best practices for granting such access at all levels to improve broadband deployment and access across the nation.
Finally, NARUC endorsed the recommendation of task force on FCC reform. The recommendations address transparency and timing, process, and efficiency. The recommendations include posting drafts of items to be considered at an Open Meeting; an online searchable database of consumer complaints; tracking of enforcement fines and penalties; requiring a state impact assessment on all decisions; altering the forbearance procedure to reduce the likelihood that any petitions can be granted “by operation of law” and permitting filing of confidential documents through the Electronic Comment Filing System.