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.
Commissioner Ajit Pai released a statement on modernizing the Lifeline program. He said that “Modernizing the FCC’s Lifeline program to support affordable, high-speed Internet access for our nation’s poorest families is a worthy goal. But failing to clean up the waste, fraud, and abuse in the program puts the entire enterprise in jeopardy.” He proposes an annual budget of $1.75 billion and an enforceable budget mechanism that automatically reduces payments to carriers when the estimated costs of the program would exceed the budget. He proposes to eliminate the “enhanced” subsidy ($25 per subscriber) in counties with more than 50 people per square mile. In addition he would set minimum standards of 25 Mbps for fixed broadband services and 4G LTE for mobile broadband services.
Proposed legislation would adopt the 911 Service System Act. The Nebraska Public Service Commission would be designated as the statewide implementing authority to plan and coordinate a statewide 911 service system. The Commission would develop a state-wide 911 implementation plan to be presented to the Legislature on or before December 1, 2017, and implemented no earlier than July 1, 2018. The plan would include:
- Start-up and on-going costs of a state-wide 911 system;
- Recommendations regarding cost recovery;
- A plan for implementation of the statewide 911 coordination role;
- A recommendation on the number of PSAPs that should be maintained state-wide that are NG 911 capable; and
- A recommendation for any additional legislation required to implement state-wide 911 service.
The bill would also create the 911 Service System Fund. The fund would consist of any money transferred from the Enhanced Wireless 911 fund, any available federal funding, and any other money credited to the fund by the Legislature.
The Governor has signed into law AB 820 (Wisconsin Act 278) which directs the Public Service Commission to prioritize broadband grants to projects that “promote economic development,” and to projects located in communities that have been certified as “Broadband Forward.” The PSC must “(a) Provide comprehensive information concerning permits required for broadband network projects and related business activities in the state and make this information available to any person. (b) Work with other state and local government offices, departments, and administrative entities to encourage timely and efficient issuance of permits and resolution of related issues. (c) Encourage local and federal government agencies to coordinate activities related to approving applications and issuing permits related to broadband network projects.”
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is inviting comments on the participation of wireless service providers in Canada’s National Public Alerting System. In particular, the CRTC is interested in comments about wireless public alerting systems already implemented in other jurisdictions, such as the United States and Australia. The CRTC points out that in the US, for example, emergency alerts are automatically sent to all mobile devices to warn the public about emergencies within the affected cellular tower coverage area. Comments are due by May 30, 2016. See press release for more details.