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.
The FCC announced the following items on the final agenda for its November 19, 2015, Open Meeting.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA): The FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would improve the effectiveness of WEA message content and the geographic targeting of WEA messages and facilitate WEA testing and proficiency training.
Hearing Aid Compatibility: The FCC will consider a Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would update the scope of the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules and seek comment on additional measures that would ensure greater deployment of hearing aid compatible wireless handsets.
Accessibility of User Interfaces: The FCC will consider a Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to provide consumers with better information about the availability of accessible devices and features and create easier access to video programming and closed captioning on devices.
The FCC will also consider a Consent Agenda with one enforcement item and 4 media items.
In a blog posting, FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly called for the FCC to act on a 2012 petition filed by the U.S. Telecom Association asking the FCC to relieve ILECs from certain dominant-carrier regulation. He said the petition “has been sitting in an abyss for nearly three years, which is a problem in and of itself. Notably, the petition did not seek complete deregulation, which I would argue is worth considering for both dominant and non-dominant carriers given the competitiveness of the larger market as a whole. Rather, it simply requested that carriers currently subject to dominant carrier rules be regulated in the same manner as non-dominant carriers with respect to switched access service.” He went on to say that he was “struck by how narrow the relief would be” if the petition was granted. He noted that the petition was limited to switched access services, would not impact special access or UNE rules, and that ILECs would still file tariffs and their services and transactions would remain subject to FCC oversight.
He concluded that: “I fail to see how maintaining additional burdens that are not applicable to non-dominant carrier competitors, much less to wireless providers, VoIP providers, or edge providers, serves consumers. The costs of these extra burdens cannot possibly be justified by any supposed benefit. All they do is make a legacy service even less attractive for providers to offer and for consumers to buy.”