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 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, April 19, 2016 entitled, “Deciphering the Debate Over Encryption: Industry and Law Enforcement Perspectives.” The subcommittee will examine issues related to the ongoing debate surrounding encryption, paying particular attention to the intersection of the benefits associated with strong encryption and the needs of law enforcement. The hearing comes on the heels of the creation of a bipartisan encryption-working group, in conjunction with the House Judiciary Committee, to examine the complicated legal and policy issues surrounding the encryption debate.
The FCC announced it authorized Frontier Communications Corporation to receive Connect America Phase II model-based support for the states of California and Texas in the areas served by former Verizon Communications Inc. subsidiaries. USAC was directed and authorized to obligate and disburse $48,554,986 in total support, as follows:
Verizon/XO Transfer of Control
The FCC has called for comments by May 12, 2016, and reply comments by May 27, 2016, on the petition of XO Holdings and Verizon Communications Inc. to transfer control of various licenses and authorizations held by XO to Verizon. If the transaction is approved, XO Holdings would sell all of its interests in XO Communications to Verizon, and XO Communications, along with its operating subsidiaries, would become a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Verizon. The parties state that the transaction will “enhance the ability of commercial customers and wireless consumers across the country to receive the highest quality and reliable communications services” by allowing Verizon customers to access the fiber-based IP and Ethernet networks of XO Communications and allowing XO customers to access the full range of Verizon’s offerings, which, they claim, are more extensive than the offerings of XO. They state that Verizon will continue to provide service and comply with XO Communications’ “contractual and regulatory obligations to its customers, so that the transaction will be seamless to those customers.” They claim that the transaction will not cause any material adverse harm to consumers or competition and note that nearly 85 percent of XO’s owned fiber network is located outside of Verizon’s ILEC footprint. According to parties, this relative lack of fiber overlap results in no potential for material competitive harm in the market for high-capacity services and that in the small number of markets where there is overlap there is a sufficient supply of high-capacity facilities from other major providers that will ameliorate material competitive harm from the transaction.
Boston’s Mayor Walsh announced a new partnership with Verizon to make Boston one of the most technologically advanced cities in the country by replacing its copper-based infrastructure with a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network platform across the city. The new network will offer enormous bandwidth and speeds. This partnership will also improve wireless services in Boston by enabling Verizon to attach wireless equipment to city street lights and utility poles, helping residents get fast, reliable mobile service.
The PSC issued a notice that it will hold an open meeting “work session” to discuss Do-Not-Call Investigation Procedures. There will be no proposed orders considered nor substantive votes cast at the meeting. The meeting will take place on April 28, 2016, beginning at 1:30 p.m.