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 an Enforcement Advisory reminding political campaigns and calling services that there are clear limits on the use of autodialed calls or texts (known as “robocalls”) and prerecorded voice calls. The advisory summarizes the FCC’s rules governing automated telephone calls, noting that they contain restrictions on the use of prerecorded voice messages and automatic telephone dialing systems including those that deliver text messages. These provisions apply to all such prerecorded voice calls and autodialed calls or texts, including those made by political campaigns or other organizations involved in the 2016 election. The restrictions vary according to whether a call is delivered to a business or residential landline telephone, a cell phone, or some other category of protected telephone lines such as toll-free lines, emergency lines, or those lines servicing hospitals, nursing homes, or paging systems. The FCC expects the Advisory will “facilitate compliance with the law and rules by senders of campaign related voice messages and autodialed calls and texts and again remind all those using these tool to carefully observe the legal limits” and said it’s Enforcement Bureau would “rigorously enforce the important consumer protections in the TCPA and our corresponding rules.”
The FCC denied a petition for waiver of the deadline to implement one of its new inmate calling service (ICS) rules. The rule at issue was §64.6100(a), which prohibits ICS providers from requiring end users to deposit a minimum amount of money in a debit or prepaid calling account. The petitioner had sought an extension of time to implement the new rule in prisons until June 20, 2016, the implementation deadline for jails. Among other things, the petitioner argued that it could not tailor its payment software and systems to prohibit minimum payments for prisons on one date and for jails on another date. The FCC found that the petitioner failed to provide sufficient and specific enough factual information in support of its claim that it could not prohibit minimum payments for prisons on one date and for jails on another date. Thus, the FCC could not evaluate the merits of the petition or assess the hardships that might prevent it from meeting the deadline. The FCC said that without an explanation of the specific reasons the petitioner was prevented from implementing the new rule, including the steps that needed to be taken to comply with the rule and the time to complete each step, it was “unable to find that a waiver is justified.”
TMI’s Spring 2016 Telecom Regulatory Seminar & Workshop April 19 & 20 in Maitland, FL.