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 released its latest Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 Fees and Charges. The Report is required by the Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 (NET 911 Act). The Report covers the collection and distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 (E911) fees and charges for the calendar year ending December 31, 2014, and finds that in calendar year 2014 states and other reporting jurisdictions collected 911/E911 fees or charges totaling $2,527,625,360.85. The Report contains more detailed state-by-state information than prior annual reports on: the number and type of 911 calls, the number of PSAPs and telecommunicators, expenditure of funds for Next Generation 911 (NG911) services, deployment of Emergency Services IP Networks (ESInets) and text-to-911 service, establishment of programs to support PSAP cybersecurity, and the extent of state-level oversight and auditing of collection and use of 911 fees. 48 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Navajo Nation, and three Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) offices responded to the expanded data request. The Report finds that eight states reported diverting or transferring a portion of collected 911 fees and charges for non-911 related purposes in 2014. 14 states reported collecting 911/E911 fees at the state level, nine reported collecting fees at the local level, and 24 states collected fees at both the state and local level.
The FCC is seeking comment on the Report, including: (1) the sufficiency and accuracy of the reported information, including additional information concerning the specific impact, if any, of the diversion of 911 fees for non-911 purposes; (2) the sufficiency and accuracy of the reported information, including additional information concerning the specific impact, if any, that such diversion has had on the provision of 911 service; (3) whether 911 fees are being effectively used by state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to implement cybersecurity best practices within PSAPs as well as adherence to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework; and (4) the role of oversight and auditing in ensuring that collected 911 fees are used according to state and local requirements. Comments are due February 8, 2016; reply comments are due March 9, 2016.
Hearing Aid Compatibility Rules
The FCC extended the time for filing comments on a Joint Consensus proposal that would, over time, ensure that 100% of all new wireless handset models will be accessible for consumers with hearing loss. TMI Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 12/17/15. Comments are now due January 28, 2016 and reply comments are due February 12, 2016. The previous deadlines where January 14, 2016 and January 29, 2016, respectively. The two-week extension was granted at the request of various wireless carriers who pointed to the proximity of the comment filing deadlines with the deadline for filing the annual Hearing Aid Compatibility reports.
On January 5, 2016, CenturyLink filed with the PSC a plan to consolidate two different ordering and billing systems for Local Services that CenturyLink currently operates. The first phase of this consolidation is planned for no earlier than December, 2016. Phases two and three are planned for no earlier than mid and late 2017. Pursuant to commitments Century Link made with the FCC regarding the 2011 transfer of control of Qwest Communications International, Inc. to CenturyLink, CLECs have the opportunity to comment on any plan to replace or integrate Qwest’s OSS. Any interested person who wants to submit comments on the filing and/or request a hearing in this matter must file the comments or request no later than February 5, 2016.
The PUC will hold a hearing on March 3, 2016, to seek information from experts regarding the efficacy and appropriateness of alternative ratemaking methodologies, such as revenue decoupling, that remove disincentives that might presently exist for energy utilities to pursue aggressive energy conservation and efficiency initiatives. The purpose of this hearing is to permit participants to inform the PUC on the following rate issues: (1) whether revenue decoupling or other similar rate mechanisms encourage energy utilities to better implement energy efficiency and conservation programs; (2) whether such rate mechanisms are just and reasonable and in the public interest; and (3) whether the benefits of implementing such rate mechanisms outweigh any costs associated with implementing the rate mechanisms. Interested parties may submit written comments after the hearing, no later than March 16, 2016, for the PUC’c consideration. See more here.