FCC VoIP 911 Fee Declaratory Ruling
At its Open Meeting today, the FCC voted to issue a Declaratory Ruling clarifying that state, local, and Tribal governments cannot charge the same class of subscribers total 911 fees that are higher for VoIP services than for traditional telecommunications services with the same 911 calling capability. The FCC said that such treatment is discriminatory and conflicts with the NET 911 Act of 2008, which provides that a 911 fee or charge on VoIP service subscribers “may not exceed the amount of any such fee or charge applicable to the same class of subscribers to telecommunications services.”
The Declaratory Ruling does not preempt any particular state law or regulation. However, it does provide guidance to the courts around the country overseeing litigation concerning the 911 fees that states and localities may assess on VoIP service subscribers. The Declaratory Ruling will effective upon release by the FCC.
The Regulatory Mix Today: FTC Seeks Comment on NIST's Proposed Privacy Framework, FCC CAF II Performance Testing, FCC VoIP 911 Fee Declaratory Ruling, FCC Updates Tariff Filing Rules
FCC CAF II Performance Testing
At its Open Meeting today, the FCC voted to approve performance testing procedures for carriers receiving Connect America Fund support to deploy fixed broadband networks to unserved Americans living in rural areas. The FCC maintained the existing requirement that carriers conduct quarterly speed and latency tests between specified numbers of active subscribers’ homes and the Internet, and made targeted modifications to the testing procedures, including:
- Modifying the schedule for commencing testing by basing it on the deployment obligations specific to each Connect America Fund support mechanism;
- Implementing a new pre-testing period that will allow carriers to become familiar with testing procedures without facing a loss of support for failure to meet the requirements;
- Allowing greater flexibility to carriers in identifying which customer locations should be tested and selecting the endpoints for testing broadband connections
Carriers that fail to meet performance standards and buildout requirements face a loss of support.
FCC Updates Tariff Filing Rules
At its Open Meeting today, the FCC voted to updated several of its rules governing tariff filings. The rule changes will allow a carrier to cross-reference its own tariffs and those of its affiliates. (FCC rules currently bar all cross-referencing between tariffs.) The FCC also eliminated a requirement that price cap carriers file certain supporting information, called a short form tariff review plan, 90 days before the effective date of their annual access charge tariffs. The FCC found that electronic filings have made both these rules unnecessary.
FTC Seeks Comment on NIST’s Proposed Privacy Framework
The FTC announced that its staff submitted a comment on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Preliminary Draft for Privacy Framework: A Tool for Improving Privacy through Enterprise Risk Management.
In the comment, staff of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection commended NIST for proposing a voluntary tool aimed at helping organizations start a dialogue about managing privacy risks within their organizations. The comment suggested five changes to the Framework. First, staff called for greater attention to the need to address the risk of privacy breaches at each step of the Draft Privacy Framework. Second, staff recommended that the Framework clarify that procedures for managing privacy risks should account for the sensitivity of the information. Third, staff recommended that NIST consider including a more robust discussion of the analysis that companies should undertake to ensure that consumers understand a company’s data privacy practices, including reviewing whether a company’s actual data practices align with consumer expectations and public-facing statements. Fourth, staff suggested that the Framework include the designation of one or more specific individuals to be in charge of creating, implementing, and maintaining an organization’s privacy program. Finally, staff recommended that the Framework highlight the importance of conducting a comprehensive risk assessment as a necessary first step before making decisions about which privacy controls should be implemented.
THE REGULATORY MIX WILL BE ON FALL BREAK FROM OCTOBER 28, 2019 THROUGH NOVEMBER 4, 2019. WE WILL BE BACK ON NOVEMBER 5TH!
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.