Today's Regulatory Mix: California Department of Justice Releases Modifications to Proposed CCPA Rules, FCC 2021 Budget Request, FCC’s Commissioners On T-Mobile-Sprint Merger
California Department of Justice Releases Modifications to Proposed CCPA Rules
The California Department of Justice (Department) released an updated notice of modifications on its website listing changes that were made to the proposed regulations regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These changes are in response to comments received regarding the proposed regulations and/or to clarify and conform the proposed regulations to existing law. The Department also listed certain documents and information that were added to the rulemaking file as well as a study that it will not be including in the file.
Since the Department issued a revised notice on February 10, 2020, it will accept written comments regarding the proposed changes or materials added to the rulemaking file until February 25, 2020.
FCC 2021 Budget Request
The FCC released its FY 2021 budget request. For 2021, the FCC is requesting:
- $343,070,000 in budget authority from regulatory fee offsetting collections. This request represents an increase of $4,070,000 or 1.2 percent from the FY 2020 appropriated level of $339,000,000.
- $134,495,000 in budget authority for the spectrum auctions program. This request represents an increase of $1,956,000 or 1.5 percent from the FY 2020 appropriated level of $132,539,000. To date, the FCC’s spectrum auctions program has generated over $117 billion for government use; at the same time, the total cost of the auctions program has been less than $2.1 billion or 1.7 percent of the total auctions’ revenue
- 1,448 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) funded by budget authority from both regulatory fee offsetting collections and the spectrum auctions program. This FTE level is the same as the level enacted for FY 2020.
- The document also sets the following four strategic goals for the FCC:
Strategic Goal 1: Closing the Digital Divide: Develop a regulatory environment to encourage the private sector to build, maintain, and upgrade next-generation networks so that the benefits of advanced communications services are available to all Americans. Where the business case for infrastructure investment doesn’t exist, employ effective and efficient means to facilitate deployment and access to affordable broadband in all areas of the country.
Strategic Goal 2: Promoting Innovation: Foster a competitive, dynamic, and innovative market for communications services through policies that promote the introduction of new technologies and services. Ensure that the FCC’s actions and regulations reflect the realities of the current marketplace, promote entrepreneurship, expand economic opportunity, and remove barriers to entry and investment.
Strategic Goal 3: Protecting Consumers and Public Safety: Develop policies that promote the public interest by providing consumers with freedom from unwanted and intrusive communications, improving the quality of communications services available to those with disabilities, and protecting public safety.
Strategic Goal 4: Reforming the FCC’s Processes: Modernize and streamline the FCC’s operations and programs to increase transparency, improve decision-making, build consensus, reduce regulatory burdens, and simplify the public’s interactions with the agency.
FCC’s Commissioners On T-Mobile Sprint Merger
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued the following statement regarding the decision by Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejecting a lawsuit to block the T-Mobile-Sprint merger: “I’m pleased with the district court’s decision. The T-Mobile-Sprint merger will help close the digital divide and secure United States leadership in 5G. After the merger, T-Mobile has committed to bringing 5G to 97% of our nation’s population within three years and 99% of Americans within six years. Its 5G network will also reach deep into rural areas, with 85% of rural Americans covered within three years and 90% covered within six years. This transaction represents a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States, put critical mid-band spectrum to more productive use, and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans. I’m gratified that the federal district court agreed with the FCC and U.S. Department of Justice that this merger is lawful and should be allowed to proceed. This is a big win for American consumers.”
Commissioner Geoffrey Starks issued a statement saying: “The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint will dramatically alter America’s wireless landscape. The state Attorneys General presented a strong case. The court saw it differently. In particular, given how central DISH’s future role as a wireless competitor was to the court’s decision, I remain disappointed that those facts were not fully vetted in the merger that I voted on. Nevertheless, the merging parties have made significant promises – to lower prices, to deploy 5G throughout the country, and to increase the diversity of their suppliers, employees and executives. Moreover, DISH has promised to build a 5G network from scratch in a few short years. I look forward to seeing how these companies will fulfill their promises to the American people.”
Commissioner O’Rielly issued a statement saying: “The New York District Court rightfully came to the same conclusion in considering the T-Mobile and Sprint merger as I did during my review, and I am pleased that the deeply flawed case made by the state Attorneys General was rejected. It is time to wrap up the entire process and allow these parties to merge. Once completed, a new T-Mobile will have certain commitments to meet, but I am excited to see it return to its mavericky style, quickly deploying 5G networks and intensely competing in the wireless marketplace, ultimately bearing out our expectation that it will provide consumers with new innovative offerings and a creative choice of packages.”
Commissioner Rosenworcel issued a statement saying: “This is disappointing. I am concerned that antitrust enforcement is not working for consumers. Going forward it is absolutely essential that the FCC enforce the promises made by these companies in their effort to secure approval from this agency. Any other outcome would be unacceptable—because in our 5G future we cannot afford to leave anyone behind.”
Commissioner Carr issued statement saying: “Today’s court decision notches another solid win for U.S. leadership in 5G. The federal court saw what I saw in this combination: wireless competition in communities that have never had it; even stronger competition to market leaders Verizon and AT&T; and enforceable commitments that will accelerate the build out of fast 5G services to 99% of the U.S. population, which will help close the digital divide across rural America. The court also recognized that a standalone Sprint ‘does not have a sustainable long-term competitive strategy and will in fact cease to be a truly national’ carrier. By combining Sprint’s underutilized spectrum resources with T-Mobile, the court joined the FCC and the DOJ in determining that New T-Mobile will have the capacity to deliver nationwide 5G while bringing new competition to the market. I am also pleased that DISH will put its spectrum resources to work for Americans and that it has enforceable commitments to do so quickly. A new nationwide competitor, unburdened by legacy technologies and with the immense resources that this transaction provides, should deliver even more service and value. I look forward to working with DISH and all wireless providers to put their commitments into action for the benefit of the Americans we serve.”
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.