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 House of Representatives passed H.R. 4596, the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, by a bipartisan vote of 411-0. As reported previously, the bill would exempt small broadband Internet access service providers (ISPS) from the enhanced transparency requirements of the FCC’s Open Internet Order for five years. A small provider is defined as one with fewer than 250,000 subscribers. See the Regulatory Mix dated 3/10/16.
The FCC has clarified the obligation of broadband Internet access service (BIAS) providers to file the annual recordkeeping certifications and required contact information in its “Recordkeeping Compliance Certification and Contact Information Registry” (RCCCI Registry) by April 1, 2016. The FCC said that while the requirement for stand-alone BIAS providers to make their services and equipment accessible to individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable is effective, the recordkeeping and RCCCI Registry requirements will not be enforced against BIAS providers at this time. After the FCC receives the necessary approval from the Office of Management and Budget, it will publish a notice in the Federal Register and announce an effective date. Importantly, the FCC noted that some BIAS providers are “independently subject to these requirements by virtue of offering advanced communications services (ACS) and are thus subject to this requirement under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) independent of their classification as a common carrier.” This would include a BIAS provider that bundles e-mail, a type of ACS that is subject to section 716, with broadband Internet access service. Such a provider must, with respect to its e-mail offering, maintain records of efforts to implement accessibility under section 716 and file annual recordkeeping certifications and required contact information by April 1, 2016, as set forth in the March 4, 2016, Public Notice. See the Regulatory Mix dated 3/7/16.
The FCC released data on fixed broadband deployment as of June 30, 2015, as collected through FCC Form 477. The data includes any revisions made by filers before February 19, 2016. Users can download data on the census blocks where providers report offering fixed broadband services to at least part of the block. These data tables also indicate the technology used to offer the service and the maximum advertised download and upload speeds for both consumer and business services. The data are available in a CSV (comma separated value) format for both the entire United States and for individual states. Coverage area shapefiles showing mobile broadband network deployment as of June 30, 2015, will be made available on the same webpage at a later date. The FCC also released today an updated version of the fixed broadband deployment data as of December 31, 2014. This new version reflects revisions made by filers to this round of Form 477 data between October 26, 2015, and February 22, 2016.
In December 2015, the PUC adopted amendments to its rules regarding underground facility damage prevention requirements (Chapter 895) pursuant to 2015 legislation (P.L. 2015, ch. 213, effective 10/15/15). The rule amendments became effective March 14, 2016. Therefore, excavation must commence within 30 days of notification to the Dig Safe System. If the proposed excavation or blasting is not completed 60 calendar days after notification or the excavation or blasting will be expanded outside of the location originally specified in the notification, the excavator must re-notify the Dig Safe System. The Chapter 895 rule describes the responsibilities of excavators, underground facility operators, the damage prevention system (Dig Safe System, Inc.), and the PUC in implementing Maine’s underground facility damage prevention statute. The rule establishes notification, marking, and reporting procedures, defines violations and penalties, and describes the process by which the PUC will enforce the program and monitor its success.