FCC Proposes Streamlining Complaint Process

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By Kyle Daly

The Federal Communications Commission has advanced a proposal to streamline certain procedures for gathering and acting on formal complaints from consumers and businesses.

The move is the latest procedural change floated under Chairman Ajit Pai, who’s pledged to clear away outdated regulations and simplify FCC processes. The agency would more closely model the procedures for certain complaints after those used for common carriers such as phone companies under the proposal. The FCC must collect public input before finalizing any rule changes.

The FCC released the proposal late Sept. 18 after adopting it Sept. 13. The agency is proposing the creation of uniform procedural rules to cover several types of complaints its Enforcement Bureau handles. It is seeking to align rules for complaints involving common carriers; equipment and telecom service accessibility for disabled persons; and rates and agreements for attaching telecom cables and equipment to existing utility poles.

“The rule changes we propose flow from nearly two decades of experience with the Commission’s formal complaint and mediation processes, and will serve to enhance the ability of parties and the Commission to promptly and efficiently address alleged violations” of communications law and FCC rules, the commission said in the text of the proposal.

Among other provisions, the FCC is proposing a uniform 30-day deadline for responding to formal complaints, and a requirement that complainants identify any individuals and documents that may have information relevant to a complaint. The FCC has also asked whether it should set shot clocks for all three types of complaints for which it wants to modify procedures.

The agency already has to act on common-carrier complaints within five months of filing. The FCC wants to know if it should also apply a shot clock to pole attachment and disability-related complaints and, if so, if it should also run for five months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyle Daly in Washington at kdaly@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

For More Information

The proposal is available at: http://src.bna.com/sFt

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