Today: US Senate Oversight Hearing of FTC, FCC December Open Meeting, FCC Grants Florida PSC’s Lifeline Rules Waiver Request
US Senate Oversight Hearing of FTC
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, announced the subcommittee will convene a hearing titled “Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. Consistent with the committee’s oversight responsibilities, this hearing will examine the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) priorities in promoting competition and consumer protection, the ongoing innovation hearings and how changes in technology impact the agency, and whether the FTC should have expanded authority with respect to privacy and data security. All five Commissioners are expected to testify.
FCC December Open Meeting
The FCC announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the December 12, 2018, Open Commission Meeting.
Spectrum Frontiers: A Fourth Report and Order that would adopt service rule changes for the Upper 37 GHz (37.6-38.6 GHz), 39 GHz (38.6-40 GHz), and 47 GHz (47.2-48.2 GHz) bands, and would provide for an incentive auction mechanism that would offer contiguous blocks of spectrum in the Upper 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands and additional spectrum in the 47 GHz band.
Incentive-Based Universal Service Support: A Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order on Reconsideration. The Report and Order would offer additional funding to carriers that currently receive model-based universal service support in exchange for deploying broadband at increased speeds, provide an opportunity for legacy carriers to transition to model-based support, and authorize additional support for carriers remaining on the legacy rate-of-return support mechanism in exchange of targeting higher broadband speeds. The FNPRM would seek comment on implementing an auction mechanism for support in legacy areas that are overlapped or almost entirely overlapped by an unsubsidized competitor, and on addressing budgetary impacts as carriers transition to broadband-only lines. The Order on Reconsideration would deny three petitions for reconsideration.
Reassigned Numbers Database: A Second Report and Order that would create a comprehensive database to enable callers to verify whether a telephone number has been permanently disconnected, and is therefore eligible for reassignment, before calling that number, thereby helping to protect consumers with reassigned numbers from receiving unwanted robocalls.
Text Messaging Classification: A Declaratory Ruling that would classify two forms of wireless messaging, Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), as information services under the Communications Act, and help prevent consumers from receiving spam robotexts.
Communications Marketplace Report: A Report that would consolidate several previously separate FCC reports into a single report on the state of the broader communications market in the United States. It would assess the state of all forms of competition in the communications marketplace and the state of deployment of communications capabilities, describe the actions taken by the Commission in the previous two years to address challenges and opportunities in the communications marketplace, and discuss the FCC’s agenda for continuing to address those challenges and opportunities over the next two years.
The FCC will also consider two broadcast items.
FCC Grants Florida PSC’s Lifeline Rules Waiver Request
The FCC granted the Florida PSC waiver request requesting a temporary four month waiver of the Lifeline program’s non-usage and recertification rules for subscribers in 12 counties in Florida affected by Hurricane Michael starting October 10, 2018. The waiver period will run from October 10, 2018 through February 10, 2019. On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a high-end Category 4 hurricane. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) subsequently designated the counties of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington to be eligible for individual assistance through the agency’s programs. See the Regulatory Mix dated 10/31/18.
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.