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.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced legislation to block robocalls. HR4932, the Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones (ROBOCOP) Act would require telecom companies to offer consumers free optional robocall-blocking technology. The Act would direct the FCC to require telecom companies to label and block calls with fraudulent caller ID and offer consumers optional free robocall-blocking technology. The text of the bill has not yet been released.
2016 Access Filings
The FCC released the Tariff Review Plans (TRPs) that are available for all ILECs to use to support the annual revisions to the rates in their interstate access service tariffs. Completion of the TRPs will provide the supporting documentation to partially fulfill the requirements established by the Commission’s tariff and access charge pricing rules and will ensure that basic data on rate development is displayed in a consistent manner, thereby facilitating review by the FCC and interested parties. There are separate TRPs for price cap and rate-of-return carriers.
FCC Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Subcommittee Communications and Technology in support of HR 4884, the CURB Lifeline Act of 2016. See the Regulatory Mix dated 4/6/16. They said the measure “represents a necessary and important step toward greater fiscal responsibility for the program, especially as it expands in size and scope to cover broadband services.” They lamented the failure of the Commission to enact “prudent fiscal constraints” on the program and said it was “extremely disturbing to learn that the association representing America’s wireless carriers is now opposing the imposition of any spending limitation on the Lifeline program.” They went on to say that: “[t]his is an interesting position as a number of wireless carriers are either directly or indirectly responsible for some of the waste, fraud and abuse existing in the Lifeline program. It is not surprising that these carriers seek and enjoy federal government subsidies, but it seems that they are ignoring the financial impact of the program on those Americans – and their subscribers who are not program recipients, especially those who live on incomes just above program eligibility, and will see their wireless bills increase substantially.”
The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced the release of a new version of the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM), v2.2, which incorporates the inputs and modifications recently adopted by the FCC in its Rate-of-Return Reform Order. See the Regulatory Mix dated 4/4/16. For instance, A-CAM v2.2 utilizes an input value of 9.75% for the cost of money, incorporates updated broadband coverage to reflect the publicly available June 2015 FCC Form 477 data, and excludes from support calculations census blocks where the incumbent provider reports at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream (10/1 Mbps) using either fiber to the premises (FTTP) or cable technology. The model is being released to assist rate-of-return carriers that are considering whether to elect to receive model-based support but is not the final version. The final version will be announced in a subsequent Public Notice, after the completion of the challenge process and final updates to the broadband coverage data in the model. Comments challenging the coverage data for competitors are due April 28, 2016. See our blog “More Reasons Why Your FCC Form 477 Filings Are So Important,” dated 4/14/16.