FCC Wipes Out Dated Telecom Rules

The telecommunications section of the Code of Federal Regulations runs more than 4,000 pages. The FCC late Friday eliminated all or part of eight rules that remained on the books, even though the Commission determined years ago they no longer apply.

In 2013, the agency acted on a petition filed by USTelecom and its own process reform report, scrapping 126 legacy wireline regulations. Even though the Commission wasn’t enforcing them, they remained in the Code of Federal Regulations. “A carrier or consumer might mistakenly believe the regulations are still in effect,” the Commission says in its Order.

Specifically, the FCC deleted:

  • (1) sections 42.4, 42.5, and 42.7, which required carriers to preserve certain records;
  • (2) section 64.1, which governed traffic damage claims for carriers engaged in radio-telegraph, wire telegraph, or ocean-cable service;
  • (3) section 64.301, which required carriers to provide communications services to foreign governments for international communications;
  • (4) section 64.501, which governed telephone companies’ obligations when recording telephone conversations;
  • (5) section 64.804(c)-(g), which governed a carrier’s recordkeeping and other obligations when it extended unsecured credit for communications services to candidates for federal office; and
  • (6) section 64.5001(a)-(c)(2), and (c)(4), which imposed certain reporting and certification requirements on prepaid calling card providers.

The agency also scrapped references to “telegraph” technology in regulations covering circuit equipment, universal service rules and other mentions.

New Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr stated the archaic rules had “long outlived their usefulness and function only to discourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and competition.” The changes become effective 30 days after Federal Register publication.

Published September 13, 2017

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