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 is seeking comment on Global Tel*Link Corporation’s (GTL) petition for a temporary waiver of the March 17, 2016, deadline for complying with the new minimum balance rules for prisons. Specifically, GTL requests a 90-day extension to implement the rule so that it can implement the change for both prisons and jails on the same date – June 20, 2016. Comments on the petition are due January 25, 2016; reply comments are due February 1, 2016.
In its most recent ICS Order, the FCC adopted Rule 64.6100(a) which prohibits ICS providers from requiring inmates or end users to deposit a minimum amount of money in an ICS debit account (established by an inmate) or an ICS prepaid account (established by someone other than an inmate) in order to use debit or prepaid calling. GTL asserts that its prepaid payment software, its IVR system, and its online and other payment channels are not facility-specific. Therefore, it cannot implement changes to its systems on a facility-by-facility basis depending on whether the facility qualifies as a prison or a jail; changes must be implemented for all facilities simultaneously. GTL also states that the different implementation deadlines create a conflict because its accounts are associated with a specific telephone number or individual, not a particular correctional facility. Thus, until minimum deposit requirements are removed for all correctional facilities, an account receiving calls from both prisons and jails could result in a negative balance because of the rate/fee differences between facilities and the different effective dates for prisons and jails.
The Commission has opened a proceeding to consider changes to its mid-size carrier rules in light of the fact that CenturyLink fka Qwest is now classified as a mid-size carrier. In particular, the Commission wants to address various anomalies with the current rules as they relate to the Commission’s previous determination that CenturyLink faces effective competition in regard to some, but not all, of its New Mexico service offerings. In preparation for the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Commission is seeking input as to what specific changes or clarifications should be made to the existing mid-size carrier rule (17.11.23 NMAC). Interested parties may file recommendations with their proposed changes and clarifications by February 10, 2016. Replies to the initial filings may be filed March 9, 2016. Staff was directed to review the filings and draft a proposed rule by April 8, 2016.