Today’s Regulatory Mix: California PUC to Consider Inmate Calling Rates, FCC Takes Action Against an Interconnected VoIP Provider for Accessibility Failures, New Hampshire Broadband Bills to Promote Growth

California PUC to Consider Inmate Calling Rates 

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has proposed interim cap on intrastate rates for incarcerated persons calling services (IPCS) of seven cents per minute for debit, prepaid, and collect calls. In addition, the draft order requires the pass-through, with no markup, of third-party financial transaction fees, up to a limit of $6.95 per transaction. Comments filed by IPCS providers, including Securus Technologies LLC, argue that the proposed rate cap would not allow providers to recover their costs, however, and will result in the reduction of services. The PUC is scheduled to vote on a draft order at its August 19 meeting (Rulemaking 20-10-002). 


FCC Takes Action Against an Interconnected VoIP Provider for Accessibility Failures  

The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) directs ViaTalk to take immediate steps to ensure individuals with disabilities have access to information provided to other customers and to file annual compliance certifications.  

As discussed in the Order the complaint raised two questions. First, did ViaTalk satisfy its obligation to provide accessible service pursuant to section 255 and section 6.5(b) of the Bureau’s rules? The Bureau  concluded that it did; the record does not support a finding that ViaTalk’s service was inaccessible. Second, did ViaTalk satisfy its obligation pursuant to section 6.11(a) of the Bureau’s rules to ensure access to information, including product support communications, to individuals with disabilities? The Bureau concluded that it did not.  See the complete order here. 

New Hampshire Broadband Bills to Promote Growth 

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 88 into law, which will help expand high-speed Internet by simplifying the planning and regulatory process.  Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) said the bill is part of the bipartisan effort to expand broadband across the state, particularly in rural areas. “This legislation will accelerate the timeline in which cities and towns can establish communications district planning committees, which will speed up the process for broadband stakeholders working toward broadband expansion to begin their work, including planning projects and gaining pole access rights,” he said.  A companion bill, Senate Bill 85, provides for the grant funding that cities and towns may use to fund these broadband projects. 


The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related 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 an Inteserra Briefing.