PSC Unveils Major Rule Revision, New Program Proposal: In an unanticipated move last week, the Missouri Public Service Commission issued a request for comments on a series of proposed rule revisions related to Governor Greitens’ Executive Order 17-03. The agency had previously indicated it was in compliance with the governor’s directive to analyze and reduce their rules thanks to another recently-completed review conducted pursuant to a statutory requirement. Apparently, that review did not comply with the executive order as thought, and the agency began scrambling to meet the new deadline.
In a conference call with industry last Friday, PSC staff agreed that the timeline was too tight to thoroughly review the proposed rules, but expressed a willingness to accept comments or hold informal meetings while the proposal was being reviewed by the governor’s office. After review by Greitens’ staff, the proposal will likely be sent to the Secretary of State to begin the formal rulemaking process, including a public hearing and comment period.
The proposed changes impact the state’s USF Lifeline rules, number pooling and other general telecommunications regulations. Staff also proposed a new addition to the Missouri USF program that would provide grants of up to $7,500 to extend telecommunications facilities to hard-to-serve customers. The MTIA Regulatory Affairs Committee will meet in mid-November to review the proposals, discuss the positions of various stakeholders in the industry, and draft association comments if warranted.
Commission Certifies Missouri Carriers for USF: The Missouri Public Service Commission Wednesday certified Missouri’s ETCs for another annual round of federal high-cost support. In a letter issued to both the FCC and USAC, Commission Chairman Daniel Hall certified that all participating Missouri telecom carriers had been certified as having used USF funds for the preceding calendar year, and for the coming calendar year, for the provision, maintenance and upgrading of appropriate facilities and are eligible for continued federal support.
NISC Hits Fifty- State Mark: National Information Solutions Cooperative, a Missouri-based MTIA member-company, is now providing its software services in all 50 states after signing on its latest member, Butler Electric Company in New Jersey. The largest software cooperative in the U.S., NISC serves more than 820 telecommunications companies and electric utilities. It was formed in 2000 when Central Area Data Processing in Missouri and North Central Data Cooperative in North Dakota merged.
Industry Partner of the Week: MTIA member-company TCA provides business planning, financial, regulatory, marketing, network operations, performance management and other consulting services to Missouri’s telecommunications carriers. For more information, contact Chris Schroeder, CEO, at 719-266-4334; or visit them online at www.tcatel.com.