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.
*** Please note that The Regulatory Mix will be on hiatus 11/26 – 11/30 for the Thanksgiving Holiday ***
On November 19, 2015, 35 Republican members of Congress, including every Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and every Republican member of the House Small Business Committee, wrote the FCC urging it to grant small businesses a permanent exemption from the Open Internet Order’s enhanced transparency requirements. The members said that “the FCC was right to exercise caution and grant the temporary exemption. Now is the time to recognize the disproportionate impact that the requirements would have on these ISPs and their customers and make the exemption permanent. Additionally, the Commission should grant the exemption to all small businesses that meet the definitions previously set by the SBA.” The members went on to note that the FCC’s temporary emption for ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers deviates from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) definition of a small telecommunications carrier (1,500 employees) as well as other small business definitions adopted by the FCC and approved by the SBA. They urged the FCC to extend the exemption to “lSPs that meet the SBA’s definition of small telecommunications carrier, or the FCC’s SBA-approved definition of a small wireless carrier (500,000 or fewer subscribers).”
Separately, Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced S.2283, the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act of 2015. The bill would exempt any provider of broadband Internet access service that has not more than 1,500 employees or 500,000 subscribers from the Open Internet enhanced transparency rule.
The FCC is seeking comment on AT&T’s petition to discontinue four services in the two wire centers where it is conducting IP transition trials (Carbon Hill, AL, and Kings Point, FL). Comments on the petition are due December 18, 2016. AT&T seeks to discontinue the following three services for new customers: BellSouth Analog Voice Grade Private Line Services; BellSouth Analog Video Service-TV-1; and BellSouth Program Audio Service (a.k.a. BellSouth SPA Program Audio). The services will be grandfathered, although AT&T says it has no current customers for any of the services. AT&T identified IP-based replacement services for the first two discontinued services as follows: (1) for Analog Voice Grade Private Line Services, AT&T Switched Ethernet 2.0 Mbps (ASE 2.0) service and AT&T Business DSL Internet service (IPDSL); (2) for Analog Video Service, Serial Component Video Service (SCVS) (an IP-based digital video service that provides standards-based 270 Mbps digital video transport for one-way transport of high quality digital video and audio signals). AT&T said is not currently offering an IP-based replacement for Program Audio Service in the Affected Areas because there has been no demand for a replacement in the affected wire centers. If no protests are filed, the application will be granted automatically on January 17, 2016, and AT&T will discontinue the affected services on or after February 16, 2016.
The PUC is seeking comments on a proposed rulemaking that would revise its electric safety regulations for its jurisdictional electric distribution companies (EDCs). Among other things, the proposed rulemaking aims to:
- Reference the national electric safety standards found in the National Electrical Safety Code;
- Enable the PUC’s Electric Safety Division to enforce electric safety standards at jurisdictional electric distribution facilities;
- Add regulations to clarify the applicable electric safety standards, EDC record-keeping and reporting rules and EDC obligations in regard to inspections and investigations;
- Clarify the duties and responsibilities between the customer and the EDC regarding maintenance of certain facilities and equipment; and
- Require jurisdictional EDCs to adhere to the Underground Utility Line Protection Act (PA One Call).