Today's Regulatory Mix: US Congress Telecom Legislation, FCC To Expand Funding Base For Internet Based TRS
US Congress Telecom Legislation
Yesterday, the US House passed the following telecom-related bills that were reported favorably from the Energy and Commerce Committee.
After passage of the bills, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) released a statement saying: “From keeping Americans better informed during emergencies to promoting 5G coordination, competitiveness and security, these three bills will create a better, safer communications network for us all. t its core, our telecommunications infrastructure exists to serve the public interest and connect our nation, and we are proud of the bipartisan work that went into advancing that goal with these three bills. We thank all our colleagues for working with us to get such important legislation passed today.”
And, Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH) released a statement saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic put a much-needed focus on the need to ensure all Americans are connected, especially during times of emergency, and that our networks are secure. The bipartisan bills passed today help accomplish these goals by investing in our communications infrastructure, promoting secure technology development, and ensuring preparedness for future emergencies. We thank our colleagues for coming together to pass these bipartisan bills and urge the Senate to take swift action,”
FCC To Expand Funding Base For Internet Based TRS
At its Open Meeting this morning the FCC voted to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise the funding structure of two Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS)—Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol Relay Service (IP Relay). VRS and IP Relay, which provide functionally equivalent telephone service for many Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind, or have speech disabilities, are currently supported by TRS Fund contributions from all providers of interstate telecommunications and VoIP services.
In 2019, the FCC revised the funding rules for another form of IP based TRS—Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS)—to include intrastate revenues. The new rulemaking proposes a similar expansion of the TRS Fund contribution base for VRS and IP Relay to include intrastate telecommunications and VoIP revenues. The proposed rule change would distribute the $575 million annual cost of these services more equitably among telecommunications providers and users, helping to maintain the long-term sustainability of the TRS Fund and the important services it provides, all without increasing the size of the Fund.
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.