Today: US Senate Hearing On Lifeline Waste, Fraud, and Abuse; FCC Webinar on CAF Phase II Auction; FCC Updated Report On TS Harvey; FCC's Rosenworcel Calls For Study On Hurricane Harvey’s Impact
US Senate Hearing On Lifeline Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced it will hold a hearing on September 6, 2017, entitled “Addressing the Risk of Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program.” . The Lifeline program was the subject of a recent study by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) that describes recurring failures of evaluation and oversight creating persistent risk of waste, fraud, and abuse and threatening the ability of Lifeline to serve its intended purpose. See the Regulatory Mix dated 6/30/17.
- Mr. Seto Bagdoyan, Director, Audit Services, Forensic Audits & Investigative Service, Government Accountability Office;
- Commissioner Chris Nelson, Commissioner, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission;
- Ms. Deborah Collier, Director of Technology and Telecommunications Policy, Citizens Against Government Waste;
- Dr. Jeffrey Eisenach, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Adjunct Professor, George Mason University School of Law; and
- Ms. Jessica J. González, Deputy Director & Senior Counsel, Free Press.
FCC Webinar on CAF Phase II Auction
The FCC’s Rural Broadband Task Force announced that the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications and Wireline Competition Bureaus will host a webinar about the proposed Connect America Fund Phase II auction process on September 11, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET. Topics covered in the webinar will include: (1) Proposed application procedures; and (2) Proposed bidding procedures, covering: descending clock auction basics; submitting bids; how winning bids are assigned; and how support amounts are determined. The webinar will be available live over the Internet and participants will have an opportunity to submit questions before and during the webinar. Additional details, including how to register and how to view the workshop remotely will be released at a later date.
FCC Updated Report On Tropical Storm Harvey
The FCC released an updated report on the status of communications services in geographic areas impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey as of September 5, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. EDT. As before, the report incorporates network outage data submitted by communications providers to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). On September 2, 2017, FEMA and the FCC decided to reduce the DIRS disaster area to 13 counties in Texas. The following 13 counties are in the current DIRS disaster area: Aransas, Calhoun, Chambers, Hardin, Harris, Jefferson, Matagorda, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Wharton County. The latest report indicates that: (1) there are now a total of 5 PSAPs affected by the storm; (2) 1.73% of the cell sites in the 13 counties were out of service, there were no counties with greater that 25% of cell sites out of service, and only 2 counties with greater than 10% of their cell sites out of service; (3) there are at least 158,050 cable and wireline subscribers out of service in the affected area, (4) there are 5 radio stations out of service; and (5) there are no TV stations out of service.
FCC's Rosenworcel Calls For Study On Hurricane Harvey’s Impact
Commissioner Rosenworcel called on the FCC to study the impact of Hurricane Harvey and issue a report including a plan for “fixing the vulnerabilities that we are finding–from overloading 911 systems to out-of-service cell sites. It should also include a framework for rebuilding so that the communities that have been impacted are not permanently relegated to the wrong side of the digital divide.” She noted that “learning from what happened with Harvey can help strengthen our communications networks and save lives.”
The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily 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 a TMI Briefing.