Today’s Regulatory Mix:  California Commission Raises DDTP Surcharge Rate, FCC Commissioner Urges Chinese Drone Company Placed on Covered List

California Commission Raises DDTP Surcharge Rate

The California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) released a resolution approving a Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) fund surcharge rate of 1.11%, effective Jan. 1, 2022. The resolution, which will be voted on by the Commission at its November 18 open meeting, will assess the surcharge on all end users of all telecommunications carriers and interconnected voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) services.  The current DDTP surcharge rate is 0.5%, which was set be statute. Earlier this month, the statutory 0.5% cap on the DDTP surcharge was removed. As the Commission explains in the resolution, the DDTP would have a negative fund balance by end of Fiscal Year 21-22 at the current 0.5% rate. The LifeLine program loaned $25 million to cover the DDTP shortage. Funds from the revised DDTP surcharge will help repay the LifeLine loan.

FCC Commissioner Urges Chinese Drone Company Placed on Covered List

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called for commencing the process of adding DJI, a Shenzhen-based drone company that accounts for more than 50 percent of the U.S. drone market, to the FCC’s Covered List. Adding DJI to the Covered List would prohibit federal USF dollars from being used to purchase its equipment. There is also a proceeding under way to determine whether to continue approving equipment from entities on the Covered List for use in the U.S., regardless of whether federal dollars are involved. Currently, five companies, including, Huawei, are on the Covered List based on a determination that they pose an unacceptable security risk. “DJI’s collection of vast troves of sensitive data is especially troubling given that China’s National Intelligence Law grants the Chinese government the power to compel DJI to assist it in espionage activities,” Commissioner Carr stated. 

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.