Today's Regulatory Mix: NARUC Urges Review Of Intrastate Inmate Calling Rates, New DEPLOY Broadband Act Would Fund Rural Broadband Development, FCC Chairman Announces Progress on Addressing Diameter Network Security Issues
NARUC Urges Review of Intrastate Inmate Calling Rates
In a press release, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners said it agrees with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on the issue of exorbitant inmate calling rates See the Regulatory Mix dated7/21/20 and is urging its member state commissions to review inmate calling rates in their respective jurisdictions. NARUC President Presley said in part:
“These exorbitant rates discourage family engagement, communication and hamper the successful reentry of incarcerated persons. We are asking all of our members to take a comprehensive review in their jurisdictions around these rates and take action where warranted. We agree with Chairman Pai on the importance of inmates’ access to reasonable calling rates. Safety, reliability and reasonable rates are at the core of our members’ public service mandate.
“We commend the FCC for its actions aimed at capping interstate rates. NARUC has been a leader in fighting the problem of exorbitant rates and passed an inmate calling resolution in 2012 noting that “family members and friends of inmates must bear the burden of above-market rates.” Today, we are renewing our commitment by asking our members to review inmate calling rates in their states, where they have jurisdiction or influence.
“Due to the varying nature of state jurisdictions, many of our members do not have authority over these rates — my home state of Mississippi is one example. In many cases, state-level corrections officials hold and negotiate these contracts outside the purview of state public service commissions. Nonetheless, we are asking our members to review these instances and act, where appropriate…NARUC will also reach out to state governors and corrections officials and ask that they review these contracts. I am asking Chairman Pai to join me in co-signing these letters to governors and state officials. Furthermore, I will personally reach out to my fellow Mississippian, Sen. Roger Wicker, and urge him to endorse legislation aimed at reducing this unfair burden on millions of families across the country.”
New DEPLOY Broadband Act Would Fund Rural Broadband Development
US Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced he introduced legislation to immediately fund broadband deployment in unserved and rural areas. The Developing Economic Prosperity and Linking Our Youth through (DEPLOY) Broadband Act (S4291) will appropriate $6.5 billion to the FCC for broadband buildout in unserved areas. It also permanently establishes a minimum 10 percent rural dividend for future spectrum auctions and ensures that funding cannot be combined with any other funds at the FCC.
“This health crisis has laid bare the digital divide that exists in many of our rural communities. It’s estimated that more than 65,000 students in Colorado live in homes without any internet access, roughly eight percent of Colorado’s entire student population,” said Senator Gardner. “That’s not acceptable with so many relying on broadband to receive an education, telecommute, and access healthcare. This legislation will dedicate immediate funding to build out rural broadband in unserved and rural areas throughout Colorado and the country and ensure there is a permanent allocation for rural broadband into the future.”
FCC Chairman Announces Progress on Addressing Diameter Network Security Issues
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the wireless communications industry has made significant progress in addressing security risks associated with the Diameter protocol, which is used to exchange authentication, authorization, and accounting information in mobile and fixed communications networks. He also praised the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) for its ongoing efforts to promote network reliability and security in the United States. In March 2018, CSRIC VI recommended that wireless service providers implement specific security measures. Inteserra Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 2/14/2019. The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau recently concluded an assessment of industry adoption of those measures, finding widespread adoption, with implementation either completed or underway by most providers.
“Americans need and deserve secure and reliable communications networks,” said Chairman Pai. “Industry adoption of CSRIC network security best practices advances that goal. I commend the providers that have already implemented these measures and urge those with work underway to complete this important effort. I also thank the CSRIC members who provide their expertise in addressing complex network security issues, including members of the current CSRIC VII who remain hard at work through the pandemic on efforts to promote network security during the transition to 5G networks and Next Generation 911.”
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.