Deregulation in the House: 82 regulations in 77 pages

by on September 26, 2005

As noted in the post below, the telecommunications reform plan floated recently by the staff of the House Energy and Commerce committee includes some 80 regulations, mandates or restrictions. To be more precise, there are, by my count, 82–more than one per page. Of course, some might quibble over this number– the difference between a rule with two mandates and a rule with one two-part mandate is an ephemeral one. And certainly the mandates vary in significance. Some are trivial, some are burdensome, some are justified, some are outrageous. But any way you look at it, there are an awful lot of them. Here they are:

1. BITS (“Broadband Internet Transmission Service”) providers required to file registration statements with the FCC.
2. BITS providers barred from offering service until registration has become effective.
3. BITS providers required to “connect and exchange traffic” with other BITS providers and telecommunications carriers.
4. BITS providers required to provide subscribers with access and banned from blocking, impairing or interfering with “lawful content, applications, and services.”
5. BITS providers required to permit subscribers to connect and use “devices of their choosing.”
6. BITS providers banned from installing network features, functions or capabilities that do not meet interconnectivity requirements.
7. VoIP (“Voice over Internet Protocol”) providers required to file registration statement with the FCC.
8. VoIP providers barred from offering service until registration has become effective.
9. VoIP providers required to exchange traffic with other VoIP and telecommunications carriers.
10. VoIP providers required to enter into agreements with other providers regarding compensation for carrying traffic.
11. The FCC to write regulations defining the “reasonable rate” for such compensation.
12. VoIP providers required to file compensation agreements with FCC and state PUC.
13. VoIP providers required to provide 911 services.
14. Firms owning 911 infrastructure required to provide access to VoIP providers on a non-discriminatory basis.
15. VoIP providers found not technologically able to provider 911 service required to provide notice to each subscriber at start of contract.
16. VoIP providers required to provide location-specific 911 service to the extent feasible.
17. VoIP numbers required to be “portable” from on carrier to another.
18. VoIP providers to provide relay services for the hearing and speech impaired.
19. BVS (“Broadband Video Service”) providers required to file registration statement with the FCC.
20. BVS providers barred from offering service until registration has become effective.
21. BVS providers subject to program rating mandates.
22. BVS providers required to make available facilities for candidates for public office.
23. BVS providers subject to requirements regarding disclosure of payments.
24. BVS providers and broadcasters subject to retransmission consent requirements.
25. BVS providers subject to cable ownership limits.
26. BVS providers subject to “must-carry” rules.
27. BVS providers subject to cable regulations for the “basic tier” of programming.
28. BVS providers subject to rules on blocking and scrambling of channels.
29. BVS providers subject to emergency alert requirements.
30. BVS providers subject to rules regarding “disposition of wiring after termination of service.”
31. BVS providers subject to set-top box compatibility and competitive availability rules.
32. BVS providers subject to cable EEO rules.
33. BVS providers subject to closed-captioning mandates.
34. BVS providers can be required to provide channels for public, educational or governmental use.
35. Local authorities may use BVS “institutional networks” for public, educational or governmental use.
36. BVS providers barred from denying access to any group of potential subscribers because of income.
37. BVS subject to cable TV program access requirements.
38. BVS providers barred from omitting any TV or unaffiliated programmers in viewing guides.
39. BVS providers barred from acquiring a financial interest in programmers.
40. BVS providers barred from negotiating exclusive agreements with programmers.
41. BVS providers barred from discriminating against vendors based on affiliation.
42. All providers required to provide conspicuous notice to customers of terms of service, including program line-ups and rate changes.
43. All providers required to provide accurate, complete, clear and simple statements of charges.
44. All providers banned from charging for service or equipment that the subscriber has not affirmatively requested.
45. The FCC required to set service termination requirements and is authorized to limit penalties for early termination.
46. All providers required to meet FCC service standards, including standards for service visits and responses to service outages.
47. All providers to maintain specified subscriber records.
48. All providers required to establish subscriber dispute resolution systems, including an 800 number that customers can use.
49. Unsolicited faxes to be banned.
50. Unwanted solicitations over VoIP networks to be prohibited.
51. FCC to prohibit use of equipment for obscene or indecent communication over BITS, VoIP and BVS systems generally prohibited.
52. Unfair and deceptive practices to be banned by FCC regulation.
53. Statutory anti-indecency requirements to be applied to BITS, VoIP and BVS services.
54. Limits on telephone solicitation to apply to VoIP and BITS services.
55. Pay-per-call regulations to apply to all providers.
56. Common carrier rules relating to pay per call services to apply to VoIP and BITS providers.
57. Rules relating to mobile service messages under the “CAN-SPAM” act to apply to BITS and VoIP providers.
58. All providers to provide subscribers annually with notice of privacy practices.
59. All providers banned from collecting personally identifiable information without express consent of subscribers.
60. All providers banned from disclosing personally identifiable subscriber information without express consent.
61. All providers required to provide subscriber access to all personally identifiable information maintained by the provider regarding the subscriber.
62. All providers required to destroy all personally identifiable subscriber information if it is no longer necessary.
63. Duty imposed on all providers to protect confidentiality of information.
64. Providers prohibited from using information collected from other providers for use in own marketing efforts.
65. Providers prohibited from using customer proprietary network information for any purpose other than those related to the service for which it was collected.
66. Providers must disclose to customers any proprietary network information upon request.
67. Provides may use customer proprietary information in aggregated form only if it provides the same date to other service providers.
68. VoIP providers required to provide information to telephone directory publishers.
69. VoIP providers required to provide customer information to emergency service providers.
70. Equipment manufacturers for VoIP, BITS and BVS services required to ensure that all equipment be accessible to the disabled, unless it presents and undue burden.
71. BITS, VoIP and BVS providers required to ensure that services are accessible to the disabled, unless it presents and undue burden.
72. If the above is an undue burden, then the manufacturer or service provider must ensure the equipment is compatible with widely used peripheral equipment.
73. All providers are barred from installing network features, functions, or capabilities that do not comply with disability standards.
74. All providers are prohibited from impairing or impeding closed-captioning or video description services.
75. All providers must document steps taken to achieve access.
76. All providers must develop enforcement and expedited complaint procedures for these requirements.
77. Telephone companies barred from acquiring BITS providers.
78. Cable firms barred from acquiring BITS providers.
79. Utilities are required to provide non-discriminatory access to poles and other infrastructure to BITS providers and BVS providers.
80. BITS providers must provide non-discriminatory access to cable firms.
81. The FCC authorized to resolve disputes in private standard-setting organizations regarding equipment for services in this act.
82. The FCC authorized to require contracts, agreements and other arrangements related to this act to be filed with it.

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