Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FCC Releases Eighth Broadband Report

The Commission released the Eighth Broadband Progress Report (the “Report”), which finds that “approximately 19 million Americans live in areas still unserved by terrestrial-fixed broadband” and that 14.5 million of those people live in rural areas.  Although this number is down from 26 million that were identified in the Seventh Report, this Report concludes that broadband is still not being deployed to all Americans in “a reasonable and timely manner.”  The Commissioners voted on the Report along party lines, 3-2, with Republican Commissioners McDowell and Pai dissenting. 

According to the Report, in the 18 months leading up to January 2012, LTE networks launched and covered approximately 211 million people.  However, this does not include wireless broadband deployment and availability in its statutory finding, as the Commission is concerned that current data overstates deployment and because there are no standards to measure latency and usage capacity against fixed broadband services. 

Dissenting Commissioner Pai argues that the majority misinterprets the statute and that the FCC should consider all broadband services, not just fixed services.  He contends that 5.5 million Americans, not 19 million, do not have access to advanced telecommunications capabilities.  Pai asserts that “the majority has used this process as an opportunity to create a pretext to justify more regulation.”  Commissioner McDowell expresses similar views that the majority is using the report “as a tool for mission creep.” 

If you have any further questions regarding this Report, please feel free to contact our team

FCC Releases Ninth Broadband Deployment Notice of Inquiry

The Commission released on August 21st, the Ninth Broadband Progress Notice of Inquiry.  While the FCC recognizes efforts made to deploy broadband across America by both the private sector and governmental entities, it also expresses concern about the deployment of advanced telecommunications capability.  Accordingly, the Commission seeks comment on updating the speed benchmark, as well as adding latency and usage capacity benchmarks, for fixed terrestrial broadband service.  With respect to mobile services, the Commission seeks comment on its plan to compare the range of mobile offerings (rather than comparing mobile offerings with fixed offerings) to determine which of those mobile services qualify as advanced telecommunications capability.  The FCC also requests input on other characteristics of a service that might be relevant to a determination of whether the service should be considered “advanced telecommunications capability.” 

Further, the Commission also requests comment on data.  Specifically, it seeks comment on new data sources and different ways of conducting analysis on broadband deployment.  Finally, the Commission asks general questions about whether broadband is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion, and what actions can help accelerate deployment.   

Comments are due September 20, 2012 and Reply Comments are due October 22, 2012.
If you have any questions regarding the NOI, please feel free to contact the TLP team

Monday, August 13, 2012

FCC Announces Status of Short-Form Applications (Auction 901)

The Commission has released a Public Notice announcing the status of the short-form applications received for the Mobility Fund’s Auction 901, classifying 5 applications as complete and 48 applications as incomplete.
Complete Applications:  These applicants are now qualified bidders and may participate in Auction 901 provided that they maintain the accuracy of their short-form applications.
Incomplete Applications:  Each of these applicants will receive an overnight correspondence from the Commission indicating the information that is required to make their applications complete.  The applicants must address these defects and resubmit their short-form applications by 6:00 p.m. EST on Monday, August 27, 2012. 

Please feel free to contact the TLP team if you have any questions regarding the above Auction. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FCC Expands Scope of Inquiry into June Storm Outages

The Commission is examining the failures of phone systems during the June storms that knocked out power and 911 communications in several areas.  While the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is already investigating these outages with carriers, the FCC is seeking to expand the inquiry through a public notice by opening up comments to public, as well as expanding the focus of the inquiry to include other experiences associated with natural disasters that involve outages.  The Commission seeks to further develop the record on the background, causes and restoration efforts related to communications services, and facilities impacted directly or indirectly by this storm as well other natural disasters. 

Comments are due August 17th and Reply Comments are due September 4th.  If you have any questions regarding the FCC's inquiries, please feel free to contact the TLP team