Monday, May 30, 2016

Public Notice Seeking Comment on Wireless Communication Services



The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment regarding request for relief of certain Wireless Communications Services (WCS) construction requirements.

On March 29, 2016, AT&T filed a Petition for Limited Waiver of Interim Performance Requirement for WCS C and D Block Licenses, requesting that the Commission waive the interim performance requirement for the 2.3 GHz WCS and D Blocks in section 27.14(p)(1)-(2) of the Commission’s Rules.  AT&T then filed a Supplement to its Petition to propose an alternative construction schedule and alternative metric by which AT&T’s planned smart grid deployment will satisfy the WCS construction requirements.  AT&T noted in its Supplement that the Commission has previously instructed licensees deploying “hybrid or nontraditional operations” to seek guidance regarding the appropriate construction benchmarks.  The original Petition was later withdrawn at the direction of the Commission, but is incorporated by reference in the attached Supplement.

Specifically, AT&T proposes: 

  • The September 13, 2019 final performance requirement deadline should be extended until September 13, 2021, and the requirement should be set at 30 links per million persons.
  • The March 13, 2017 interim performance requirement should be replaced with a semiannual report on AT&T’s progress – in particular, the number of links deployed in each REAG as of each June 30 or December 31 (as applicable) – starting on January 31, 2018.
The Commission seeks comment on AT&T’s Petition and Supplement.  

Comments are due June 22, 2016.
Reply Comments are due July 5, 2016.

Please contact us with any questions.

FCC Annoucement on 911 Communications Report and Order



The FCC published in the Federal Register an announcement that OMB approved, for a period of three years, the information collection associated with the Ensuring Continuity of 911 Communications Report and Order’s consumer disclosure requirement.

In the Report and Order, the Commission created new section 12.5 of the rules to place limited backup power obligations on providers of facilities-based fixed, residential voice services that are not line-powered to ensure those providers meet their 911 access and service obligations during outages.  It further required those providers to offer new subscribers the option to purchase backup solutions to power outages to enable 911 calls for at least 8 hours, and offer at least one option that provides a minimum of 24 hours to 911 service within three years of the effective date of the 8 hour obligation.  All of the covered providers must explain at point of sale available backup power options and how the subscriber can extend the backup power through devices and other equipment.

The Commission included a small provider exemption for compliance with these rules.  For covered providers with fewer than 100,000 domestic retail subscriber lines, the effective date of the obligation was extended an additional 180 days to ensure enough time to modify their current practices to comply with the rules.  The obligation for providers to offer 8 hours of backup power would become effective 300 days after publication in the Federal Register.  The 24 hour backup power obligation is effective on the same extended three-year schedule.

The Commission previously announced the wrong compliance date for providers with fewer than 100,000 domestic retail subscriber lines as of April 1, 2017.  This document changes the date to February 1, 2017, effective immediately.

Please contact us if you have any questions. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Released on Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2016


The Commission has released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, and seeks comment regarding fee adjustments pursuant to the FY 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order.  The Commission proposes to collect $384,012,497 in regulatory fees for FY 2016.

As required by Congress, the Commission assesses regulatory fees each year in an amount that can be reasonably expected to equal the amount of its appropriation.  To calculate regulatory fees, the Commission allocates the total collection target across all regulatory fee categories. The allocation of fees to fee categories is based on the Commission’s calculation of full time employees (FTEs) in each regulatory fee category.  The total FTEs for each fee category includes the direct FTEs associated with that category, plus a proportional allocation of the indirect FTEs. 

This release by the FCC details the changes that have already been adopted for regulatory fees in FY 2016, as well as proposals and comments for further regulatory fee reform. 

In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
    • The Commission proposes to collect $384,012,497 in regulatory fees for FY 2016.  (In FY 2015, the Commission proposed $339,844,000 in regulatory fees).
      • Of this amount, the Commission projects approximately $21.4 million in fees from the International Bureau regulatees, $81.9 million from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau regulatees, $133.97 million from the Media Bureau regulatees, and $146.8 million from the Wireline Competition Bureau regulatees.
    • The Commission includes a proposed regulatory fee adjustment for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS).
      • The Commission seeks comment on a higher regulatory fee of 27 cents per subscriber per year for FY 2016.  This fee includes a 24 cent per subscriber baseline with a proportional adjustment of 3 cents per subscriber associated with facilities reduction costs.
      • In 2015, the Commission adopted the initial regulatory fee for DBS of 12 cents per year per subscriber and stated in the FY 2015 Report and Order and FNPRM that it would update the fee in FY 2016 as necessary.
  • The Commission seeks comment on proposed regulatory fees for AM and FM radio broadcasters and adjustments to the tables used to assess regulatory fees.  The proposed fee adjustment tables are available in Appendix B to the NPRM.
    • The Commission tentatively concludes that the FY 2015 proposal for Top 10 radio stations to pay twice that of 26-50 market stations will make fees more reasonable.
  • The Commission seeks comment on whether to distinguish common carrier terrestrial circuits from non-common carrier terrestrial circuits for regulatory fee purposes. 
  • The Commission declines to combine the Wireline Competition Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau regulatory fee categories. However, it seeks comment on whether some or all of the direct FTEs that devote time to universal service and/or numbering issues should be reallocated as indirect FTEs and what the appropriate proportion should be.

The proposed regulatory fee schedule is available in Appendix B of the NPRM.

Comments are due June 20, 2016.
Reply Comments are due July 5, 2016.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. 

Guidance on the Enhanced Transparency Requirements in the 2015 Open Internet Order


A Public Notice has been released offering guidance on the Open Internet enhanced transparency requirements adopted in the 2015 Open Internet Order.  As you may recall, the enhanced transparency rules, among other things, require BIAS providers to disclose expected and actual download speeds, latency, and packet loss, and also confirm the requirements surrounding disclosure at the point of sale.  BIAS providers with less than 100,000  broadband connections are exempt from these enhanced requirements of the 2015 Open Internet Order (but must still comply with the 2010 transparency requirements).   

Specifically, the Public Notice (1) outlines acceptable methodologies for disclosure of network performance to satisfy the 2015 Open Internet Order enhancements; and (2) offers guidance on compliance with the point of sale disclosure requirement under the 2015 Open Internet Order.  The guidance provided in the Notice is not exhaustive (except for the guidance pertaining to using the MBA Safe Harbor), and BIAS providers may implement alternative approaches.  The summary below focuses on guidance pertaining to mobile BIAS.

Network Performance Metrics
Disclosure of Network Performance Metrics 
  • Actual Performance Metrics:  Providers may comply with the requirement to disclose actual speeds (download and upload), and latency, by disclosing either the Measuring Broadband American (MBA) median speed or a range of actual speeds that includes the median speed (via percentiles).  Speed ranges may be more appropriate for mobile BIAS.
  • Geographic Granularity for Actual Network Performance Metrics:  Mobile BIAS providers with access to reliable actual data on network performance may disclose actual performance metrics for each CMA in which the service is offered.
  • Expected Network Performance Metrics should not exceed actual network performance in that geographic area.  There is no corresponding requirement to disclose different expected network performance metrics in different geographic areas.
  • Peak Usage Periods may be based solely on the local time zone

      Using the Measuring Broadband America (MBA) Safe Harbor 
  • The FCC anticipates that the MBA program will publish its first Mobile Broadband Report in 2016.
  • Here, the Bureaus establish that “mobile BIAS providers may disclose their results from the mobile MBA program as a sufficient disclosure of actual download and upload speeds, actual latency, and actual packet loss of a service if the results satisfy the sample size criteria and if the MBA program has provided CMA-specific network performance metrics of the service in CMAs with an aggregate population of at least one half of the aggregate population of the CMAs in which the service is offered.”
Not Using the MBA Safe Harbor
  • Mobile BIAS providers that measure network performance by their own or third-party testing (rather than the MBA program) may disclose performance metrics for each CMA in which the service is offered, except that actual network performance may be aggregated among CMAs with a population density below 250 people per square mile.
  • Mobile BIAS providers may achieve a representative sampling of end users by: running measurement clients on end-user devices, by placing measurement clients in locations near a representative set of mobile broadband consumers, or by measuring performance in the network and estimating the relationship between the measured performance and that experienced by end users.
      Point of Sale Requirement 
  • The Bureaus clarify that disclosures must still be prominently displayed “on a publicly available website” and made at the point of sale.  In addition, it is still permissible to direct consumers to a website link at the point of sale in order to satisfy these requirements.

Please contact us with any questions.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Agenda Released for May Open Meeting



The Commission has released the following agenda for the May Open Meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 10:30 am:

Updating the Public Inspection File Requirements: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on proposals to eliminate the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public in their public inspection file and the requirement that cable operators reveal the location of the cable system’s principal headend.

Enhancing Public Safety and Network Reliability Through Communications Outage Reporting: The Commission will consider a Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order on Reconsideration to update its Part 4 communications network outage reporting requirements.
*Note that the Order on Reconsideration has been added since the Tentative Agenda was released.

Connect America Phase II Auction: The Commission will consider a Report & Order adopting rules to implement a competitive bidding process for high-cost universal service support from Phase II of the Connect America Fund.

The meeting may be streamed at www.fcc.gov/live.  

Please contact us with any questions.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Lifeline Affirmations due to Wireline Bureau by June 7, 2016



A Public Notice has been released asking that any carriers with a currently pending Lifeline compliance plan request or petition for designation as a Lifeline-only ETC submit to the Wireline Bureau by June 7, 2016 an affirmative written statement that the carrier remains interested in having the Bureau review its application.  The affirmative statement need only attest to the carrier’s continued desire to have the application reviewed, and does not need to produce additional information.


Affirmations must be filed in WC Docket No. 09-197 and one copy must be sent via email or mail to the following: Christian Hoefly, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 5-B441A, Washington, D.C. 20554; e-mail: christian.hoefly@fcc.gov.


Any pending requests or petitions that are not affirmed will be denied without prejudice.


Please contact us with any questions.