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.
In a recent Blog posting, Travis Le Blanc, the Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, offered a primer on the FCC’s enforcement process. The first step toward a potential enforcement action is the issuance of a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) which is a proposed fine. Then NAL informs the company of the alleged unlawful activity, establishes the maximum penalty that could be assessed for that violation, and provides the company with an opportunity to contest the allegations. He emphasized that, at this stage of the process, the fine is proposed; it is not owed or due to the Commission. Companies then have an opportunity to respond to the NAL and make their case to the FCC. The Bureau will review all responses, conduct any additional investigation necessary, and make any adjustments to the case as appropriate – including reducing or even cancelling a fine if warranted. In some cases, the Bureau may reach a settlement with the company which may include consumer redress and compliance requirements. If a settlement is not achieved, however, the FCC Commissioners, after considering the full legal and factual record, may vote to assess a fine (formally known as a “Forfeiture Order”). Even after the Forfeiture Order, a company may continue to challenge an enforcement action before the FCC. However, once it has exhausted its right to challenge an enforcement action before the FCC, the company is required to pay the fine imposed in the Forfeiture Order. If the company does not do so within the required time, the fine is considered a debt to the United States and is referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for a collection action.
Mr. Le Blanc noted that since 2013, the FCC has “steadily improved its efficiency in bringing proposed fines to conclusion” and collected 86% of the actual fines it has imposed over the last two years, a substantial increase over previous years. In addition, the Bureau reduced the time it takes to resolve a NAL from 19 months on average in 2011 to 8 months in 2014. However, some cases take more time to resolve because they require coordination with other government entities. He offered the following table to illustrate the FCC’s progress:
Transition To New Local Number Portability Administrator
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau approved the revised Transition Oversight Plan filed by North American Portability Management LLC to help guide the process of transitioning to the next Local Number Portability Administrator (LNPA), Telcordia d/b/a iconnectiv. The Bureau also announced that the first in a series of LNPA transition outreach webcasts will be held on December 9, 2015, from 3:00-4:00 pm, EST. The webcast is intended to keep interested parties informed about the upcoming LNPA transition, in accordance with the Updated TOEP. Interested parties may register for the webcast here.
SADC (aka Business Data Services Data Collection)
The FCC released another list of additional parties that have signed an acknowledgement of confidentiality (AOC) and that seek to review the data gathered through the FCC’s special access data collection (SADC). The list includes persons that signed AOCs since November 18, 2015, or were not included in previous Public Notices. Companies that submitted confidential or highly confidential information in response to the SADC have until December 3, 2015, to object to the disclosure of their data and information to any of the parties on the list.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved the recommendations made by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee’s (CISC) Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG) regarding the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) i3 architecture standard for Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) services. Adoption of this standard will facilitate the transition from legacy 9-1-1 systems to Internet-Protocol-based NG 9-1-1 systems and provide a clear path forward for all 9-1-1 stakeholders and Canadians. The CRTC requests that the ESWG and other CISC working groups submit their recommendations on the Canada-specific technical and operational aspects of the implementation of the NENA i3 architecture standard for NG9-1-1 services. See more here.