Special Access Order

On May 2, 2016, the FCC released its Tariff Investigation Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking finding unlawful or questionable many terms in price ILEC volume pricing plans and proposed a combination market-based and technology-neutral approach to regulating TDM (DS-1 and DS-3) and Ethernet-based special access services. While the proposal looks to discontinue the use of special access tariffs, the FCC is drawing heavily on its comprehensive study of 2013 special access data to develop a more focused scheme of regulation, based on a series of findings that the market for special access is not competitive, except in high density urban markets. Comments are due June 28 and Reply Comments are due July 26. 

EPA Fact Sheet for Utilities

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a fact sheet to help electric utilities understand their reporting obligations for the chemicals they manufacture. The fact sheet focuses on operations that are common for sites using fossil fuels or other carbonaceous materials for electricity generation. The reporting obligations are found in the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule, issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Impacted utilities are required to submit their reports between June 1 and September 30. 

FirstNet PEIS Public Comments

The First Responder Network Authority (“FirstNet”) announced the availability of a Draft Programmatic Environment Impact Statement (PEIS) for the East Region. The PEIS analyzes the potential impacts of the deployment and operation of the proposed nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network on the natural and human environment in the East Region, which consists of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Comments are due on the PEIS for the East Region by July 6.

911 Location Accuracy

Last week, the 9-1-1 Location Technologies Test Bed LLC invited non-nationwide wireless carriers and vendors of new or emerging location information technologies to participate in the 911 indoor test bed. The Test Bed is a subsidiary of CTIA – the Wireless Association and will be testing technologies that enable first responders to locate callers who dial 911 from indoor locations as required by the FCC’s wireless location accuracy rules adopted last year (Vol. XII, Issue 6). Application questions are due by May 13, responses by May 27, and applications by June 10. 

FCC Open Meeting Agenda

The FCC has announced the tentative schedule for its next Open Meeting, scheduled for May 25 at 10:30 a.m. in Washington D.C. The Commission will consider a Report and Order adopting rules to implement a competitive bidding process for high-cost universal service support from Phase II of the Connect America Fund (CAF), and a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update its Part 4 communications network outage reporting requirements.

TeleStrategies Conference

K&H Partner Doug Jarrett is attending the TeleStrategies 17th Annual Communications Taxation 2016 Conference in Phoenix, Arizona from May 16-18. Mr. Jarrett will be featured on a panel which will discuss the top five audit pitfalls, the challenge of FCC inaction on Universal Service Fund (USF) appeals, and questions that FCC guidance or Form 499-A instructions address but don’t resolve.