Florida PSC Releases Report on Status of Competition
The Florida PSC released a report showing that more Florida consumers are choosing cutting edge communications technologies while landline phones continue to disappear.
“Many Florida consumers now live in wireless only homes and use wireless and broadband services,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “As the pace for technological innovation quickens, companies are investing in advanced technologies that best serve the diverse needs of today’s consumers, while also boosting Florida’s economic growth.”
The 2018 report shows consumers continue to move from landline telephone service to wireless and cable/VoIP services. The data also indicates that residential migration might be increasing slightly, while business customers are still migrating to VoIP services in large numbers. For the eighth year in a row, the number of business landlines exceeded residential landlines, although both experienced significant drops in 2018. Residential landlines declined 23.6 percent, while business landlines declined 23 percent.
As in past years, wireless, VoIP and broadband drove the telecommunications markets in 2018. There are an estimated 20.8 million wireless subscriptions in Florida and more than 4.5 million VoIP connections. According to the FCC, 93 percent of households in Florida had fixed broadband connections of at least 200 kbps, and 20 percent had connection speeds of at least 100 Mbps at the end of June 2017.
The FCC-reported overall telephone penetration rate of 92.7 percent for Florida suggests that most consumers can afford telephone service. For eligible Floridians needing help on their monthly phone bills, the Lifeline Assistance program for discounted voice and broadband service is available. Florida’s Lifeline participation rate increased from 41.3 percent in eligible households in 2017 to 42.7 in 2018.
The Regulatory Mix Today: Florida PSC Releases Report on Status of Competition, FCC Updates Cable Franchising Rules, Nebraska PSC to Hold Workshop on Proposed Auction and Wireless Registry Rules
FCC Updates Cable Franchising Rules
At its Open Meeting last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order updating its cable franchising rules. The Order prohibits excessive franchise fees and explains that local franchising authorities (LFAs) may not regulate most non-cable services, including broadband Internet access service, offered over a cable system. The order was issued in response to a remand from the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. Among other things, the FCC:
- Concluded that cable-related, “in-kind” contributions required by a cable franchise agreement are franchise fees subject to the statutory five percent cap on franchise fees set forth in section 622 of the Communications Act, with limited exceptions, including an exemption for certain capital costs related to public, educational, and governmental access (PEG) channels.
- Found that LFAs may not regulate the provision of most non-cable services, including broadband Internet access service, offered over a cable system by an incumbent cable operator.
- Found that the Communications Act preempts any state or local regulation of a cable operator’s non-cable services that would impose obligations on franchised cable operators beyond what Title VI of the Act allows.
- Concluded that FCC requirements that concern LFA regulation of cable operators should apply to state-level franchising actions and state regulations that impose requirements on local franchising.
Nebraska PSC to Hold Workshop on Proposed Auction and Wireless Registry Rules
The Nebraska PSC released an Order scheduling a workshop for today, August 6, 2019. The workshop will be held to discuss amendments to the proposed rules implementing a Reverse Auction and Wireless Registry. The Reverse Auction is to be established to award the Nebraska Universal Service Fund (NUSF) support for broadband services. The Wireless Registry’s establishment is to compile a list of locations where wireless coverage is inadequate. Details for the workshop are contained in the Order.
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.