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 Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology is scheduled to vote today on a combined package of previously released legislative proposals designed to reduce barriers to broadband deployment. The package to be voted on combines six proposals previously reviewed by the subcommittee See the Regulatory Mix dated 11/2/15 that will:
- Require the installation of broadband conduit in any federally funded highway project where the Department of Transportation, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission finds the capacity will be needed in the next 15 years. This is also known as the “Dig-Once” provision, authored by Walden and Eshoo.
- Require federal agencies to use the common forms, contracts, and fee schedules developed by the Government Services Administration under the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2012.
- Expand access to pole attachments for broadband deployment.
- Create an inventory of federal broadband assets and assign responsibility for the tracking of federal permit applications for broadband facilities and hold the federal government accountable for the speed of permitting by locating responsibility with the Senior Real Property Officer of each landholding agency.
- Require agencies to streamline their permitting processes for locating broadband facilities.
- Streamline the federal requirements for historical and environmental impact evaluations of broadband facilities.
The Committee will also vote on H.R. 1641, the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act, authored by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), which aims to incentivize federal agencies to free up additional spectrum for commercial use by relocating and consolidating spectrum holdings in return for a portion of the auction revenues.
Measuring the Information Society Report
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) released its annual “Measuring the Information Society Report” revealing that 3.2 billion people are now online, representing 43.4% of the global population. Additionally, mobile-cellular subscriptions have reached almost 7.1 billion worldwide, with over 95% of the global population now covered by a mobile-cellular signal. The report also found that:
- By the end of this year, 46% of households globally will have Internet access at home, up from 44% last year and just 30% five years ago, in 2010. In the developed world, 81.3% of households now have home Internet access, compared to 34.1% in the developing world, and just 6.7% in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
- Growth in Internet use has slowed down, posting 6.9% global growth in 2015, after 7.4% growth in 2014. Nonetheless, the number of Internet users in developing countries has almost doubled in the past five years (2010-2015), with two thirds of all people online now living in the developing world.
- The fastest growth continues to be seen in mobile broadband, with the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide having grown more than four-fold in five years, from 0.8 billion in 2010 to an estimated 3.5 billion in 2015. The number of fixed-broadband subscriptions has risen much more slowly, to an estimated 0.8 billion today.
- Over 95% of the global population is now covered by mobile-cellular services, meaning that there are still an estimated 350 million people worldwide who live in places which are still out of reach of a mobile network – a figure that has dropped from 450 million a year ago. But while 89% of the world’s urban population is now covered by a 3G network, only 29% of the world’s 3.4 billion people living in rural areas benefit from 3G coverage.
- The price of mobile-cellular services continues to fall across the world. In LDCs, the mobile-cellular price basket continued to fall, coming down to 14% of gross national income per capita by the end of 2014, compared to 29% in 2008. The greatest decreases over the past year have been in mobile-broadband prices, which have made the service on average between 20% and 30% more affordable worldwide.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it executed an inspection warrant to enter and inspect a property in Brampton, Ontario, on November 24, 2015, as part of an ongoing investigation of a significant telemarketing operation. This company is alleged to be making unauthorized calls to Canadians for the purpose of selling anti-virus software to numbers registered on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). The CRTC does not comment on active investigations, nor does it name the individuals or companies under investigation. The CRTC will publicize the results of its investigations on its website if it issues a settlement or issues a notice of violation or citation.