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    January

    January 14, 2019 - REGScan

    Please note: Due to the partial lapse of federal government funding, this week’s REGScan has limited items.  

    • Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the Connect America Fund Accountability Act of 2019, H.R. 427. The bill would require CAF recipients to include additional information in their quarterly speed and latency reports to the FCC, such as speeds provided to customers, and require USAC to consider the number and frequency of complaints submitted to the FCC for a carrier’s broadband service when deciding whether to audit a carrier and require audits be made public.  
    • The Congressional Research Service issued an updated report on federal assistance to address the digital divide. CRS said in addition to loans, loan guarantees, and grants for broadband infrastructure deployment, a wide array of policy instruments are available to policymakers, including universal service reform and tax incentives to encourage private sector deployment, among other things. CRS said in assessing federal incentives for broadband deployment, Congress may consider the appropriate mix of broadband deployment incentives to create jobs in the short and long term, the extent to which incentives should target next-generation broadband technologies, and the extent to which unserved and underserved areas with existing broadband providers should receive federal assistance.  
    • The Congressional Research Service issued an updated report on broadband deployment and federal funding in tribal areas. The report said the most recent data collected show as of December 31, 2017, approximately 32 percent of Americans living on tribal lands lacked access to broadband at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps. CRS said the largest overall source of federal funding for telecommunications services is the FCC’s USF programs, and as these programs transition toward a broadband centric orientation, the issue for tribal broadband is how this transition will affect broadband funding to tribal lands. CRS said in the 116th Congress, whether or not tribal lands will receive additional funding for broadband will likely be determined by the ongoing trajectory of overall federal funding for broadband.
    • The Competitive Enterprise Institute released a report identifying nine policy areas CEI claimed are ripe for Congressional reform, including net neutrality. CEI said Congress should classify the provision of broadband internet access service to consumers as an information service not subject to common carrier regulation under the Communications Act of 1934. Press release

    • The Free State Foundation released a paper suggesting the FCC adopt a presumption in forbearance proceedings that, absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, enforcement is not necessary to ensure that a telecommunications carrier's charges or practices are not unreasonable or unreasonably discriminatory or necessary for the protection of consumers, and non-enforcement is consistent with the public interest. The FSF also said the FCC should adopt a presumption in the regulatory review process that, absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, regulation is no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of meaningful competition between service providers. 

    January 7, 2019 - REGScan

    • Geoffrey Starks and Commissioner Brendan Carr were confirmed by the Senate as FCC Commissioners. Carr was confirmed for a full term beginning July 1, 2018, and Starks was confirmed for the remainder of the term that began on July 1, 2017. Chairman Pai and Commissioners Rosenworcel and Carr issued statements.  
    • The FCC announced that due to continued partial lapse in federal government funding, the FCC  suspended most operations on January 3, 2019. The FCC also provided a list of database systems and operations that will be available to the public during this lapse.  
    • The FCC issued a tentative agenda for its January 30, 2019 Open Meeting. The FCC will consider five items, including: a Report and Order establishing a schedule to end CAF Phase I support in price cap areas where winning bidders in the CAF Phase II auction will begin receiving Phase II support and in areas that were not eligible for the auction, while providing interim support in areas that did not receive any bids; an NPRM proposing to amend its Truth in Caller ID rules to implement the anti-spoofing provisions of the RAY BAUM’S Act; and a Report and Order, FNPRM, and Order to enhance program management, prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, and improve emergency call handling in the IP CTS program.  
    • The FCC issued an Order on Reconsideration granting Mescalero Apache Telecommunications’ Petition for Reconsideration of the Tribal OpEx Order insofar as it argued it was incorrectly excluded from the list of carriers afforded relief. The FCC updated the list of carriers eligible for the Tribal OpEx relief to include Mescalero Apache Telecom and several other carriers.  
    • The FCC issued an Order extending the timeframe for the collection of speed test data for the Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process by 90 days. This change allows challengers’ speed test data collected on or after February 27, 2018, and through the entire 240-day challenge window, to be submitted and considered with a challenge. It also extended by at least 90 days the timeframe for the collection of information to respond to a challenge.