News from the ITA

January 5, 2018

 

Happy 2018!

We hope you enjoyed the holiday season and had the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. 

As we look back on 2017, a number of major legislative and regulatory issues affecting the telecommunications industry were addressed. The Illinois Commerce Commission approved an update to the Illinois Universal Service Fund and the General Assembly passed legislation to modernize the Telecommunications Act and update 9-1-1 statutes. The legislature also passed a small cell bill that governs how local communities may regulate and charge for the deployment of small wireless facilities. 

While the industry experienced a number of legislative and regulatory victories in 2017, this year will bring its own set of issues and challenges, especially as it is an election year. The FCC's decision to reclassify broadband internet access service as a Title I information service will likely spur action at the state level and we expect to see many of the same type of data privacy initiatives introduced again this year. And while the legislature finally ended the historic budget impasse in Illinois last year, passing a budget this year could again be a contentious issue. As always, we will keep you informed on all the major issues in Illinois.

We also launched a new ITA website in 2017 that includes online registration and payment options, up-to-date status and summaries of key legislation and regulatory proceedings, and the ability to update your own member profiles any time.  We have built the new website with you in mind, so please let us know what features are most important to you or if there are additional things we can add to further improve the site.

We thank you for your continued support and active participation and look forward to working with you again as we advocate for legislative and regulatory policies that allow the telecommunications and broadband industry to thrive in Illinois and that facilitate investment in the advanced networks consumers and businesses demand. 


  Legislative Update

More than 200 new laws take effect in 2018

In addition to the telecommunications issues that were addressed in 2017, the Illinois General Assembly tackled other big issues and passed hundreds of other bills. The legislature finally ended the state's historic budget impasse, approved an income tax increase as part of its budget solution and revamped the formula by which public schools throughout the state are funded. The start of the new year brought with it more than 200 new laws in Illinois. Here's a brief overview form the Associated Press:

Hundreds of new state laws to take effect in 2018 (State Journal-Register)

 

2018 Legislative Session to get underway later this month

The General Assembly is not scheduled to be back in session until later this month, with the House of Representatives returning to Springfield January 23rd and the Senate returning January 30th. Governor Rauner will give his State of the State Address on January 31st. Schedules with key dates and deadlines can be found on the House and Senate calendars.

 

Andrade creates Distributed Ledgers and Cryptocurrencies Subcommittee

State Representative Jamie Andrade (D-Chicago), Chairman of the House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and IT Committee announced this week the creation of the Distributed Ledgers and Cryptocurrencies Subcommittee. 

According to the press release, the committee is aimed at making sure Illinois embraces  innovative opportunities while providing the proper oversight to protect consumers. Andrade leads the full Cybersecurity Committee to review critical questions over how Illinois oversees the challenges that come with technological innovation, such as how online companies keep personal data shared on their platforms private and secure.

The cryptocurrency subcommittee will be chaired by state Rep. Mike Zalewski (D- Riverside), who already has been working on legislative oversight of Bitcoin and the blockchain to ensure the innovative economic tools can be fully and securely implemented in Illinois. Zalewski also leads on critical financial issues as chairman of the Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee.


ICC Proceedings

ICC Approves Egyptian/Gridley Reorganization

The Illinois Commerce Commission at its December 20, 2017 Regular Open Meeting approved the Joint Application for Reorganization by Egyptian Communications Services, Inc. and Gridley Telephone Company in Docket 17-0387. In the Final Order, the Commission approved the transfer of control and reorganization of Gridley as the result of Egyptian acquiring 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of Gridley's wholly owning parent company.

 

ICC Staff files motion to initiate First Notice Period for Part 757 Rulemaking

Illinois Commerce Commission Staff filed a motion December 20, 2017 to advance proposed amendments to 83 Ill. Adm. Code Part 757, Telephone Assistance Programs. The proposed amended rules are intended to align the eligibility requirements for the Illinois Universal Telephone Service Assistance Program (UTSAP) with the proxy programs that determine eligibility for the federal Lifeline program under the changes made by the FCC in April, 2016.

In addition, the proposed rule would expand the state UTSAP program to include assistance for  broadband internet access service. The recent update to the Telecommunications Act allows the program to extend low-income assistance for broadband internet service. ICC Staff held workshops to discuss the proposed amendments to the administrative rule and no parties objected to the changes. The ICC docket is 16-0566.


Illinois Opts-In to FirstNet

Governor Bruce Rauner announced December 18, 2017 his decision for Illinois to opt-in to FirstNet and accept the First Responder Network Authority and AT&T's plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s public safety community. According to the announcementAT&T, in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Illinois’ public safety community at no cost to the state. The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.


ISBE Schedules Two Classroom Connectivity Initiative Sessions

The Governor’s Office and the Illinois State Board of Education are inviting the internet service provider community to join EducationSuperHighway, a national non-profit organization focused on upgrading Internet access in K-12 public schools, for an informational session about helping schools seeking infrastructure and bandwidth upgrades:

Session 1: Tuesday, January 16
10:00am – 12:00pm
100 W. Randolph, James R. Thompson Center,
Back Conference Room, 16th Floor, Chicago

Session 2: Thursday, January 18
2:00pm – 4:00pm
100 N. First St., Illinois State Board of Education,
Board Conference Room, 4th floor, Springfield

For more information, please visit the ISBE Classroom Connectivity Initiative and EducationSuperHighway websites.

Please RSVP by Friday January 12 by:

a) completing this form, or
b) emailing Mary Reynolds at the State Board of Education, [email protected]


 Sponsorship Opportunities in the ITA Directory!

Several Companies have already jumped on the opportunity to advertise in the ITA's 2018 printed Directory, but there is still space available. We have consistently heard from our members how valuable a reference tool the physical ITA membership Directory has become to them. Many have told us they keep the directory nearby in their office or as they travel for easy access and reference. Directory ads help defer the cost of production and we appreciate your support. 


 Mailing Address Change

Reminder - Due to the reduced amount of mail received, the ITA has discontinued its PO Box address. You can send mail directly to our office at 312 S. 4th Street, Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701. Please update your records if you are sending mail to the PO Box address. Thank You!

Illinois Telecommunications Association

312 S. 4th Street, Suite 100

           Springfield, IL 62701             

 (217) 572-1262

www.il-ita.com