Arkansas Broadband Funding
A new law in Arkansas will allow a government entity, on its own or in partnership with a private entity, to apply for funding under a program for grants or loans to be used for the construction, acquisition, or leasing of facilities, land, or buildings used to deploy broadband service in unserved areas. If the funding is awarded, the government entity could then provide, directly or indirectly, voice, data, broadband, video, or wireless telecommunications services to the public in the unserved areas. The definition of unserved area will be the definition used in the underlying grant or loan program.
The Regulatory Mix Today: Arkansas Broadband Funding, FTC Announces Inflation Adjusted Civil Penalties, US Congress Forced Arbitration Bill
FTC Announces Inflation Adjusted Civil Penalties
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has adjusted the maximum civil penalty dollar amounts for violations of 16 provisions of law the FTC enforces, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. The Act directs agencies to implement annual inflation adjustments based on a prescribed formula. The new maximum civil penalty amounts took effect on February 14, 2019.
Among other things, the maximum civil penalty amount has increased from $41,484 to $42,530 for violations of Sections 5(l), 5(m)(l)(A) and 5(m)(l)(B) of the FTC Act, 7A(g)(l) of the Clayton Act and Section 525(b) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. It has increased from $545 to $559 for violations of Section 10 of the FTC Act. The maximum civil penalty amount has increased from $1,180,566 to $1,210,340 for violations of Section 814(a) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
US Congress Forced Arbitration Bill
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) together with 32 cosponsors, has introduced the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act (S610) intended to reduce the prevalence of forced arbitration agreements and protect both customers and workers. The FAIR Act would amend the Federal Arbitration Act by adding a new chapter that invalidates agreements that require the arbitration of employment, consumer, antitrust or civil rights disputes made before the dispute arises. It would also prohibit agreements that interfere with the right of individuals, workers and small businesses to participate in a joint action related to an employment, consumer, antitrust or civil rights dispute. There is an exception to ensure the validity of arbitration agreements that are the product of collective bargaining agreements.
Said one of the cosponsors, Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV): “Forced arbitration is an unfair practice that limits Nevadans’ right to seek and receive justice in our court system. Today the growing use of forced arbitration provisions in contracts prevents consumers and employees from holding companies accountable. Americans whose data has been stolen in countless data breaches throughout the country have been forced into arbitration and denied fair compensation for the damage caused to them because of this practice. I’m proud to stand up for the rights of Nevadans, and all Americans, by improving the ability of Americans to seek justice.”
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.