News from the ITA

December 18, 2020

 

Regulatory Update

The Illinois Commerce Commission held it's final Regular Open Meeting of the year December 16, and the Commission approved the following Orders:

Commission Sets 2021 Interest Rate on Customer Deposits at 0.0%

The Commission entered an Order setting the rate of interest to be paid on customer deposits from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. In the Final Order to Docket 20-0884, the Commission cited administrative rules that require the Commission to calculate the interest rate each December, basing it on the average one-year yield on United States Treasury securities for the last full week in November, rounded to the nearest one-half of one percent. The rate of
interest determined in that manner is to be paid on customer deposits in the following
year.

The Commission taking administrative notice from information provided by the Federal
Reserve Board that the average one-year yield on United States Treasury securities for
the last full week of November 2020 was 0.11 percent. Rounded to the nearest one-half
percent, the rate would be 0.0 percent, which, under the rules, shall be the
applicable rate of interest to be paid on customer deposits during 2021. 

A history of intertest rates on customer deposits including the rates set for 2021 can be found on the consumer web-page of the ICC website.

Commission Sets Maximum Rates & Charges for Operator Service Providers

At its December 16 Open Meeting, the Commission also set the maximum rates and charges for Operator Service Providers. The Final Order in Docket 19-1097, cites the procedure for setting the rates according to the administrative rules in 83 Ill. Adm. Code 700 which requires that the maximum charges shall be escalated annually by the percentage change in the GDP Implicit Price Deflator, which was 1.68%.

The maximum surcharges for making operator-assisted calls are:

Dial

Operator

Type of Call

Max

Cost

0 + number

Live or Automated

Collect, Credit card, 3rd-number billed, Coin deposit

$4.02

0

Live

Collect, Credit card, 3rd-number billed, Coin deposit

$5.99

0 + number

Live or Automated

Person-to-person: Credit card

$7.21

0 + number

Live or Automated

Person-to-person: Collect, 3rd-number billed, Coin deposit

$7.21

0

Live

Person-to-person: Collect, 3rd-number billed, Coin deposit

$9.22

 

The maximum rates per minute for intrastate calls are:

Rate Miles

First Minute

Each Add’l Minute

1-10

$0.3407

$0.3008

11-22

$0.3610

$0.3407

23-55

$0.3812

$0.3610

56-124

$0.4211

$0.4010

125-292

$0.4608

$0.4410

293+

$0.4815

$0.4610

 

The maximum rates set by the Commission can also be found on the ICC Consumer web-page.

ICC Hosts Cyber Resiliency Joint Exercise

The ICC hosted a Cyber Resiliency Joint Exercise December 10 involving telecommunications carriers along with electric, natural gas and water utilities throughout the state. The exercise was deigned to provide participants with the opportunity to collaboratively assess and test their response plans and levels of properness through a simulated scenario with widespread cyber and physical incidents impacting the operational systems of critical infrastructure entities. The ITA and several local exchange and wireless carriers participated in the exercise. 


Broadband Advisory Council Quarterly Meeting

The Broadband Advisory Council held its final meeting this year December 16. The Director of the Office of Broadband and BAC Chair, Matt Schmit, provided a brief update on the Connect Illinois broadband grant program and digital equity programs. The authors of a broadband affordability study also walked members of the BAC though their preliminary findings. The report is still in draft form and will be made public by prior to January 1, 2021.

The broadband affordability study was developed is in response to Senate Bill 2135, which was approved by the General assembly and signed into law by Governor Pritzker this year.  The study first attempts to determine the overall level of broadband connectivity in the state and then, accounting for access to infrastructure, assesses the affordability of service and equipment as barriers to adoption and estimates the costs to the State that would be associated with removing those barriers.

We will provide the final report when it is made available.


COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) provided a briefing Friday, December 11 with  information about the state's COVID-19 vaccination planThe Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine last week and are likely to approve the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today. The state of Illinois began distributing and administering vaccinations for frontline health care workers Tuesday, December 15. 

IDPH officials estimated the more than 750,000 frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Phase 1a could be completed in 4-6 weeks. Since that briefing, however, Governor Pritzker said his office was notified this week that Illinois and other states would be receiving about half of the doses of the vaccine than the federal government had originally planned. IDPH said in it's briefing that the state is awaiting further guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) this weekend on vaccination priorities for Phase 1b and 1c.

As the state nears completion of vaccinations in Phase 1a, the current state plan pending further guidance from the ACIP is to begin vaccinations for essential frontline workers in Phase 1b and adults with high-risk medical conditions and people 65 years of age and older in Phase 1c. The state estimates there are approximately 1.1 million to people in Phase 1b and 3.4 million people in Phase 1c.

Critical Infrastructure employees, which include workers in the communications and information technology sector, are included in Phase 1b. With limited vaccines available it will be important for companies to have a plan for prioritization of employees at greatest risk. IDPH officials said critical infrastructure companies will coordinate vaccination schedules with their local health departments. We will share further updates and guidance form the IDPH and Business Emergency Operations Center as it is made available.

Phase 2 vaccinations include approximately 3.7 million other adults not included in Phase 1 and Phase 3 includes 5 million young adults age 18-30 and children (if a pediatric vaccine is available).

IDPH also has a COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ available on its website.

Illinois Telecommunications Association

312 S. 4th Street, Suite 100

           Springfield, IL 62701             

 (217) 572-1262

www.il-ita.com