Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VI Issue 34

Date: Aug 31, 2009

Volume VI, Issue 34



FCC Opens Series of Proceedings Regarding State of Wireless Industry

At its August 27, 2009 Open Meeting, the FCC released two Notices of Inquiry seeking information regarding competition, innovation and investment in the wireless industry. The Commission notes that wireless service has become central to the economic, civic, and social lives of millions of Americans and seeks a foundation for future policymaking. Comments in response to both Notices are due by September 28, 2009. Also at its Open Meeting, the Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry regarding the wireline voice, wireless, broadband and subscription video marketplaces and whether additional protections could assist consumers in choosing providers and service plans, managing communications usage, and deciding whether to switch providers and/or service plans. Comments are due October 13, 2009.

Massachusetts Revises Data Security Regulations; Extends Effective Date

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation recently revised its regulations that require companies that store or maintain personal information about a resident to implement a comprehensive written information security program, and extended the effective date to March 1, 2010. The revisions emphasize a risk-based approach to security that takes into account a business' size, scope, and type, available resources, the amount of stored data, and the need for security and confidentiality of consumer and employee information. Having a formal data security plan is critical not only to comply with the Massachusetts regulations, but also the FTC's Red Flags Rule (see Vol. VI, Issue 32). Massachusetts is one of only a few states that require a written information security program, but the broader question is whether the Massachusetts law is the start of a new trend among the states. Click here for an article on the Massachusetts law, and click here for an article on the Red Flags Rule, both authored by Keller and Heckman attorneys.


FCC Cable TV Market Share Cap Struck Down


Las week, the DC Court of Appeals struck down as arbitrary and capricious an FCC regulation that restricted any cable TV company from holding more than a 30% share of the nationwide subscriber market. The ruling is seen as a victory for Comcast, which, at a reported 26% market share, was the cable provider most likely to fall under the cap's restrictions. The rule had been overturned in court once before, in 2001, but was re-enacted in 2007 under former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Current Chairman Julius Genachowski issued a statement that the Commission is reviewing the court's decision and will take it into account as it considers future cable television ownership limits.


Petition for Equal Telecom Attachment Rates

On August 25, 2009, the FCC issued a Public Notice requesting Comment on a Petition filed by electric utilities AEP, Duke Energy, Southern Company and Xcel Energy seeking a Declaratory Ruling that the pole attachment rate for VoIP telephone service is the same as that charged for traditional telecom services. This Petition follows Comments filed by K&H last month on behalf of the Coalition of Concerned Utilities explaining why at a minimum the telecom rate should apply to all attachers offering broadband services. Interested parties may file comments on or before September 24, 2009 and reply comments on or before October 09, 2009. For more information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com).