New ICS Rules Put on Hold in Global Tel*Link v. FCC
U.S. Court of Appeals Grants Request From GTL to Postpone Implementation of New Caps on ICS Rates
Reston, Virginia (PRNewsWire) – March 7, 2016 – The implementation of new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rate caps for inmate communication services (ICS) was halted today by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., where a three-judge panel unanimously granted a partial stay in response to the petitions from Global Tel*Link Corporation (GTL) and others who had challenged the FCC’s authority to set rates below providers’ costs and questioned the agency’s attempt to assert jurisdiction in areas traditionally left to state utility commissions and corrections officials.
Over the last ten years, the FCC has diligently raised awareness of significant issues that have plagued the ICS marketplace and its consumers — bringing together inmate advocates, facility administrators, service providers, and lawmakers in a constructive discussion to inform the development of the Commission’s October 2015 order which implemented rate and fee caps on prison phone calls.
Although the FCC’s efforts to bring affordable service to our nation’s inmates and their families are to be lauded, the Commission’s ‘one size fits all’ approach ignored the diversity of correctional institutions in the United States and used blanket policy to address issues that vary from community to community. Nine state attorneys general expressed this sentiment in their challenge to the FCC’s ICS regulations, raising reasonable concerns over the cookie cutter regulatory model and its effect on their ability to responsibly administrate their correctional facilities.
“The marketplace must work with individual communities to ensure that tailor-made solutions bring the lowest possible rates to inmates across the country,” said GTL CEO Brian Oliver. “While the FCC’s public policy goals have merit, their approach has both failed to address fundamental market issues or recognize their jurisdictional limits.”
GTL will continue to work with state and local governments to ensure that all of its correctional facility partners are able to supply inmates with affordable connectivity, while also ensuring each facility has access to innovative new technology.
A number of states have already taken up consideration of inmate rate, fees, and facility payments, including Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and Colorado.
“GTL will continue to work with its facility partners to forge solutions that allow each of our customers and their communities to bring the nation’s most affordable phone services to inmates in a way that is right for them,” Oliver said.
About Global Tel*Link
GTL is the leading provider of integrated correctional technology solutions, delivering financial value, security, and ease of operation to our customers through visionary products and solutions at the forefront of corrections innovation. As a trusted correctional industry leader, GTL provides service to approximately fifty percent of inmates nationwide, including service to 33 state departments of corrections, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 33 of the largest city/county facilities. GTL is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, with more than 10 regional offices across the country. To find out more about GTL, please visit our website www.gtl.net.
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