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 FCC’s International Bureau released its fifth International Broadband Data Report The Report compares the state of broadband deployment in the United States and the country’s broadband speeds and prices to the international community. According to the report, the available data continue to suggest that although the United States may be among the leaders for developed countries with regard to some broadband metrics, it lags in some other metrics. Among other things, the Report finds that:
- High-speed broadband is more widely deployed in the U.S, than in Europe, with 89% of all U.S. households having access compared to 68% of households in the European countries in the EC study in 2014. In rural areas in 2014, 58% of U.S. households have access to fixed high-speed broadband, compared to 25% of households in the European countries.
- The U.S. ranked 26th of 40 countries in 2014 in terms of actual download speeds (26.68 Mbps) when weighted by sample size. Though this is the same ranking as in 2013, the average speed increased 8.01 Mbps over what it was a year prior (18.76 Mbps in 2013).
- With regard to unlimited stand-alone fixed broadband pricing, U.S. plan prices range from the middle of the pack to higher than those in other countries surveyed depending on the offered speed. For plans with usage limits, however, U.S. plan prices divided by the number of GB of data allowed tend to be on the lower end.
The PUC approved grant funding in the amount of $421,257.50 from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Broadband Public Housing Account (BPHA) in response to the public housing infrastructure grant applications from Better Opportunity Builder for its Brierwood project; Silvercrest, Inc., for its Yosemite Village and Pacific Gardens projects; Housing Authority City of Los Angeles for its San Fernando Gardens project; and Self Help Enterprises for its Rancho Lindo, Rolling Hills, and Solinas Village projects. These seven projects will deploy broadband infrastructure capable of 6 mbps download and 1.5 mbps upload for 771 living units in these seven Publicly Supported Communities (PSCs).
In addition, the PUC approved funding in the amount of $6,580,007 from the CASF in response to the grant application of Race Telecommunications Inc., to install a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) system for its Gigafy Mono County Underserved Broadband Project (Gigafy Mono Project). The Gigafy Mono Project will extend high-speed Internet service to 399 households spread amongst 5.6 square miles covering South Chalfant, Benton, Benton Hot Springs, Swall Meadows and Mono City, in Mono County, California.
The PUC also approved funding in the amount of $2,037,721 from the CASF in response to the grant application of Race Telecommunications Inc. (Race) for its Five Mining Communities Underserved Broadband Project. The Five Mining Communities Project will extend high-speed internet service via FTTP to a 1.55 square mile project area in northwestern San Bernardino County and eastern Kern County. This project will make gigabit broadband service available to 202 households in the total project area.
The Commission said it will commence a rulemaking to update its inmate operator service rules currently codified at 17.11.28 NMAC. The new rulemaking will address, among other things, whether the Commission’s existing rate caps have been preempted by the FCC’s new inmate calling service rules, and if not, whether the New Mexico rate caps should be updated. Staff was directed to meet and confer with other interested persons, and, by March 31, 2016, submit a draft proposed rule in a new docket for the Commission’s consideration for adoption as a proposed Commission rule to be noticed for public comment.