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.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has released a Fact Sheet on his proposal to unlock set-top boxes used with cable and satellite service. The proposal will be voted by the full Commission on February 18, 2016. The proposal is in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would, in the Chairman’s words, “tear down anti-competitive barriers and pave the way for software, devices and other innovative solutions to compete with the set-top boxes that a majority of consumers must lease today. This proposal is about one thing: consumer choice. Consumers should have options created by competition.” Wheeler asserts that his proposal will “let innovators create and then let consumers choose.” According to the Fact Sheet, the proposal will create a framework for providing innovators, device manufacturers and app developers the information they need to develop new technologies. This will allow consumers to choose how they access the Multichannel Video Programming Distributor’s (cable, satellite, or telco companies) video services to which they subscribe and facilitate competition between MVPDs and competitors based on the experience they offer users, including the quality of the user interface and additional features like suggested content, integration with home entertainment systems, caller ID and future innovations.
The FCC denied three petitions for stay of its inmate calling services (ICS) Order. The FCC found that none of the Petitioners demonstrated that: (1) they will suffer irreparable harm if the Order is not stayed; (2) they are likely to succeed on the merits of their arguments; or (3) that a stay would be in the public interest. To the contrary, the FCC found that the public interest would not be served and ICS consumers will be harmed if the relevant provisions of the Order are stayed. TMI Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 1/27/16.
Waiver of Filing Deadlines
In recognition of the numerous closings and disruptions caused by the weather in the Washington, D.C., area, the FCC announced that all paper and electronic filings (with two exceptions) that were due on January 22 through January 27, 2016, will now be due on Thursday, January 28, 2016. The exceptions are (1) Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) notifications and reports and (2) filings that are subject to statutory deadlines. A separate Public Notice announced revised filing window dates for the incentive auction forward auction application, FCC Form 175. The FCC closed early on Friday, January 22, 2016, and also was closed on Monday and Tuesday, January 25 and 26, 2016 due to a severe snowstorm.