Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Announces Approval of Additional COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications, FCC Further Extends Temporary Relay Services Waiver, New York Comment on New COVID-19 Proceeding
FCC Announces Approval of Additional COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications
The FCC announced the approval of an additional 77 funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Health care providers in both urban and rural areas of the country will use this $29.41 million in funding to provide Telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. To date, the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which was authorized by the CARES Act, has approved 444 funding applications in 46 states plus Washington, D.C. for a total of $157.64 million in funding.
FCC Further Extends Temporary Relay Services Waiver
The FCC has extended, through August 31, 2020, the temporary waivers it previously granted Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) providers to ensure relay services remain available during the COVID-19 pandemic for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, or have a speech disability. The waivers e grant TRS providers flexibility to deal with reduced staffing and increased call volumes, enable more of their employees to provide services from their homes, and expand the pool of contractors qualified to provide American Sign Language interpretation services for Video Relay Service. The FCC also extended waivers that enable Internet Protocol Relay Service communications assistants to provide service from home workstations and to allow registered VRS users to make calls to the U.S. from abroad during the national emergency.
New York Seeks Comment on New COVID-19 Proceeding
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has established a proceeding and is seeking comment on various topics in response to the impact of COVID-19 on New York’s utilities and ratepayers. Among other things, the PSC intends to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on all entities subject to PSC jurisdiction or permitting authority, including telecommunications companies. Comment areas include: Collections and Termination of Service; PSC Priorities in Serving the Public Interest; and Rate and Financial Aspects. The full list of topics and questions are included in the Appendix in the Source of this Briefing. Comments are due July 11, 2020. Inteserra Briefing Service subscribers see Briefing dated 6/18/20
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.