Monday, June 26, 2017

FCC Announces July Open Meeting Tentative Agenda

Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or the "Commission") Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the July Open Meeting scheduled for
10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Call Authentication Trust Anchor (WC Docket No. 17-97) -
The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry that seeks comment on methods to authenticate telephone calls to further secure our telephone networks against illegal robocallers.  The Notice seeks comment on implementing authentication standards for telephone calls, as well as the Commission's role in this process and other public policy considerations.

Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls (CG Docket No. 17-59) - The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry that explores methods by which reassigned telephone number data could be made available to callers to avoid unwanted calls to consumers.

Protecting Consumers from Unauthorized Carrier Changes and Related Unauthorized Charges (CG Docket No. 17-169) - The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining steps to further curtail slamming and cramming.

Rural Call Completion (WC Docket No. 13-39) - The Commission will consider a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes rule changes to better address ongoing problems in the completion of long-distance telephone calls to rural areas.  This Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes to (1) adopt new rural call completion requirements for covered providers, and (2) eliminate the Commission's existing rural call completion recording, retention, and reporting rules.

Video Description (MB Docket No. 11-43) - The Commission will consider a Report and Order which increases the required hours of video described programming that covered broadcast stations and MVPDs must provide to consumers.

Updating the Part 2 Equipment Authorization Program (ET Docket No. 15-170) - The Commission will consider a First Report and Order that would update and amend its equipment authorization program by replacing two certification procedures with a new Supplier's Declaration of Conformity process, codifying procedures for the electronic labeling of devices, modernizing the requirements related to the importation of electronic equipment and incorporating up-to-date methods for equipment compliance measurements into the rules.

Radar Services in the 76-81 GHz Band (ET Docket No. 15-26) - The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would address use of the 76-81 GHz band under the Part 95 rules to support a broad range of vehicular radar uses, such as collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control systems, as well as to expand the types of fixed and mobile radar operations permitted within airport environments.

Wireless Microphone Operations (GN Docket No. 14-166 / ET Docket No. 14-165) - The Commission will consider an Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would address licensed and unlicensed wireless microphone operations in the TV band and other frequency bands.

Continuing the Chairman's pilot program, the FCC is publicly releasing draft text of each item expected to be considered at the next Open Commission Meeting.  All these materials will be available on the event page for the Open Meeting: https://go.usa.gov/xX5Qn

Please contact us if you have any further questions.








WTB Announces 600 MHz Applications are Accepted for Filing

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau ("WTB" or the "Bureau") released a Public Notice announcing that certain long-form applications for 600 MHz licenses have been found, upon initial review, to be acceptable for filing.  Those accepted applications are sorted by licensee in
Attachment A, and by market in Attachment B.  The initial review of the long-form application is ongoing, and subsequent public notice(s) will announce the acceptance for filing of additional long-form applications.

Petitions to deny the applications in Attachment A must be filed no later than July 3, 2017.  Oppositions to a petition to deny must be filed no later than July 11, 2017.  Replies to oppositions must be filed no later than July 18, 2017.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Chairman Pai Picks Rosemary Harold to Lead Enforcement Bureau

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or the "Commission") Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to appoint Rosemary C. Harold to serve as chief of the Enforcement Bureau.  Harold is an attorney with considerable experience both within the agency and in private practice, as well as a former journalist.  She rejoins the agency from Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, where she was a partner.  Prior to joining the firm in 2011, she was legal advisor to then- FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell for media and broadband issues and deputy chief of the FCC's Media Bureau.

Harold will be working closely with Michael Carowitz, who, having served as acting bureau chief, will continue to help lead the Enforcement Bureau as deputy bureau chief.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Monday, June 19, 2017

FCC Open Meeting Agenda Released

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or the "Commission") has released the following agenda for the June Open Meeting, scheduled for Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.:

Amendment of Part 11 of the Commission's Rules Regarding Emergency Alert System
(PS Docket No. 15-94) - The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would amend the Commission's Emergency Alert System ("EAS") rules to add a dedicated event code, "BLU," for Blue Alerts, so that EAS alerts can deliver actionable information to the public when a law enforcement officer is killed, seriously injured, missing in connection with his or her official duties, or if there is an imminent and credible threat to a law enforcement officer.

Procedures for Commission Review of  State Opt-Out Requests from the FirstNet Radio Access Network (PS Docket No. 16-269) - The Commission will consider a Report and Order that establishes the procedures and standards the Commission will use to review alternative plans submitted by states seeking to "opt-out" of the FirstNet network and to build their own Radio Access Networks that are interoperable with FirstNet.

Rules and Policies Regarding Calling Number Identification Service – Caller ID (CC Docket No. 91-281); Waiver of FCC Regulations at 47 C.F.R. § 64.1601(b) on Behalf of Jewish Community Centers The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would amend the Caller ID rules to allow disclosure of blocked Caller ID information to aid law enforcement in investigating threatening calls and continue the waiver of those rules that is currently in effect for Jewish Community Centers.

WorldVu Satellites Limited, d/b/a OneWeb (Call Sign S2963) - The Commission will consider an Order and Declaratory Ruling that recommends granting OneWeb's request to be permitted to access the U.S. market using its proposed global non-geostationary satellite constellation for the provision of broadband communications services in the United States.

Improving Competitive Broadband Access to Multiple Tenant Environments

(GN Docket No. 17-142) - The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry that seeks comment on ways to facilitate greater consumer choice and enhance broadband development in multiple tenant environments such as apartment buildings, condominium buildings, shopping malls, or cooperatives.  The Notice of Inquiry further seeks comment on the current state of broadband competition in such locations and whether additional action in this area is warranted to eliminate or reduce barriers faced by broadband providers that seek to serve the occupants of multiple tenant environments. 

Electronic Annual Notice Declaratory Ruling (MB Docket No. 16-126) - The Commission will consider a Declaratory Ruling which would clarify that the "written information" that cable operators must provide to their subscribers via annual notices pursuant to Section 76.1602(b) of the Commission's rules may be provided via e-mail.

Modernization of Payphone compensation Rules (WC Docket No. 17-141); Implementation of the Pay Telephone Reclassification and Compensation Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (CC Docket No. 96-128); 2016 Biennial Review of Telecommunications Regulations (WC Docket No. 16-132) - The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order that (1) proposes to eliminate the requirement that carriers that complete payphone calls conduct an annual audit of their payphone call tracking systems and file an associated annual audit report with the Commission, and (2) waives upcoming annual audit and associated reporting requirements.

Enforcement Bureau Action - The Commission will consider an enforcement action.

Drafts of the items listed above are available at: https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/events/2017/06/june-2017-open-commission-meeting

Please contact us if you have any questions.






FCC Grants 600 MHz Licenses

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or the "Commission") has released a Public Notice announcing the completion of review of applications and granting new 600 MHz licenses pursuant to the Incentive auction.  These granted licenses are sorted by licensee in Attachment A, and sorted by market in Attachment B. 

The FCC reminds licensees that they should review all Commission orders and public notices establishing rules and policies for the 600 MHz band, including but not limited to spectrum use during the Post-Auction Transition Period, procedures for commencing operations, and performance requirements.

Please contact us with any further questions.

Chairman Pai Picks Stockdale to Lead Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or the "Commission") Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to appoint Donald Stockdale to serve as chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.  Stockdale is an economist and attorney with extensive FCC and private-sector experience.

Stockdale rejoins the Commission from Bates White Economic Consulting, where he has been a partner.  Prior to that, he worked on telecom regulatory and antitrust issues as a partner at Mayer Brown, LLP.  He first joined the FCC in 1994 as an attorney advisor and later as deputy division chief and associate bureau chief for economics and the then-Common Carrier Bureau.

Nese Guendelsberger, who has served as acting bureau chief, will work along side Stockdale as his senior deputy bureau chief.  James Schlichting, the current senior deputy bureau chief, will be appointed to the same position in the International Bureau.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Telecommunications Law Professionals "Recommended" by Legal 500 Rankings

TLP is pleased to have been included in The Legal 500 United States 2017's list of recommended law firms, and has been recommended in the following two practice areas:
-Media, technology and telecoms- Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory
-Media, technology and telecoms- Telecoms and broadcast: transactional

TLP also congratulates the following attorneys for their recognition by The Legal 500:
Carl Northrop is listed in the elite "Leadings Lawyers" list, which is The Legal 500 United States 2017's guide to outstanding lawyers nationwide. Mr. Northrop is listed under the following practice areas: Media, technology and telecoms- Telecoms and broadcast- regulatory; Media, technology and telecoms- Telecoms and broadcast- transactional

Five TLP lawyers are recommended in the Legal 500 United States 2017 editorial:
Media, technology and telecoms- Telecoms and broadcast- regulatory
-Ashton Johnston, Carl Northrop, Dennis Corbett, Jessica DeSimone Gyllstrom and Michael Lazarus
Media, technology and telecoms- Telecoms and broadcast- transactional
-Ashton Johnston, Carl Northrop and Michael Lazarus

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.









TLP Ranked as "Leading Firm" in Chamber USA 2017

TLP is pleased to have been ranked in Chambers USA 2017 as a "Leading Firm."  The list, which may be found on the Chambers and Partners' Website, ranks TLP in Band 4 for Telecom, Broadcast, and Satellite in Washington, D.C.  The Chambers USA guide recognizes that the TLP Team is "top-notch in terms of their effectiveness and their reputation among the FCC.  They come fully prepared to handle these matters and you get everything you need."

Please contact us with any questions.

Proposed Third Quarter 2017 Universal Service Contribution Factor

A Public Notice has been released announcing that the proposed USF contribution factor for the third quarter of 2017 will be 0.171 or 17.1 percent.  Last quarter, the contribution factor was 17.4 percent.

The contribution factor is calculated based on the ratio of total projected quarterly costs of universal service support mechanisms to contributors' total projected collected end-user interstate and international telecommunications revenues, net of projected contributions.  For the third quarter of 2017, the projected revenue requirement (or "costs") of universal service support is $1.896110 billion and the projected industry revenue is $13.110461 billion.  The quarterly contribution base is then adjusted to $11.102207 billion.  If the Commission fails to act within 14 days following the release of the Public Notice, then the calculation is deemed to be approved.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

WTB Reminds Wireless Licensees of Construction Obligations

The Federal Communications Commission's ("FCC" or the "Commission") Wireless Telecommunications Bureau ("Bureau") released a Public Notice reminding Wireless Licensees of their buildout obligations- in particular, their existing obligations to timely meet the construction and coverage deadlines set forth in the Commission's rules.  These obligations serve the important purpose of ensuring that scarce spectrum resources are put to use and deployed in a manner that serves all communities.

The Bureau asserts that the FCC has clearly stated requests to extend construction obligations will not be routinely granted- only when failure to meet construction requirements were due to causes beyond the licensee's control, or more broadly, when the underlying purpose of the rules would not be served or would be frustrated, and that a grant would be in the public interest.  The Commission makes no representations or warranties that a license is a guarantee of business success, and does not contemplate extension of construction deadlines for licensees that fail to meet obligations because of miscalculations or erroneous productions about costs, demand, or developments in the market.  These requirements are highlighted particularly given the Commission's recent and ongoing initiatives to ensure that wireless broadband is deployed in unserved or underserved areas, including rural and tribal areas.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 Data Update for the Mapping Broadband Health in America Platform

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or the "Commission") announced a data update for the Mapping Broadband Health in America platform through its Connect2Health Task Force.  The platform now reflects the latest complete annual fixed broadband dataset from the Commission and updated health data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's County Health Rankings.  The platform allows users to visualize, overlay, and analyze broadband and health data at the national, state, and county levels.  Said Michelle Ellison, Chair of the Connect2Health Task Force: "This critical update to the Task Force's mapping platform unpacks the broadband health realities faced by communities nationwide and makes them easily accessible to the public and decision-makers."

The 2017 updated platform is available at http://www.fcc.gov/health/maps.  Sample maps include Rural Broadband and Physician Shortages, Broadband and Diabetes in Rural America, Broadband Gaps in America, and Broadband Access and Obesity.

Pease contact us if you have any questions.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wireline Competition Bureau Announces Infrastructure Deployment Webinar

The Wireline Competition Bureau and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureaus (the "Bureaus") released a Public Notice announcing a webinar on the recently-adopted Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry, Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment (NPRM/NOI) opened an examination of the regulatory barriers to wireline infrastructure investment and deployment, and the Commission solicited public comment on how it may remove or reduce such barriers consistent with the law and public interest.

A webinar for state and local governments will be conducted by the Bureaus and held at 2:00 pm EDT on June 14, 2017.  The webinar will focus on the NPRM/NOI issues that affect state and local government offices and agencies.

The Webinar will be available via WebEx.  To register, go to https://fccevents.webex.com/fccevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=e86049709729c5cc4c960604ccd5d33b5.

Please contact us if you have any additional questions.

Wireline Competition Bureau Announces LNPA Transition Outreach and Education Plan Webcast

The Wireline Competition Bureau ("WCB") released a Public Notice announcing the data and time of the seventeenth Local Number portability Administrator ("LNPA") Transition Outreach and Education Plan webcast.  The webcast is scheduled for 3:00-4:00 pm EDT, on June 14, 2017.  The webcast will be hosted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP, the Transition Oversight Manager ("TOM") for the LNPA transition.

The Transition Outreach and Education Program webcasts are designed to keep interested parties informed about the upcoming LNPA transitions.

The objectives for the webcasts are three-fold:
  • To provide transparent communications regarding the LNPA Transition;
  • To serve as an open forum to gather and understand needs and concerns; and,
  • To incorporate feedback to improve future connections
The agenda will be published on the LNPA Transition tab on the napmllc.org website one week prior to the webcast.  Interested parties may register for the webcast by visiting https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1150077.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


FCC Releases Updated Form 477 Data on Fixed Broadband Deployment from June 2016

The Wireline Competition Bureau ("Bureau") announced the release of updated data on fixed broadband deployment as of June 30, 2016.  This data was collected through FCC From 477, and is available on the "Federal Communications Commission's ("FCC's" or the "Commission's") Broadband Deployment Data- FCC Form 477" webpage: www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/broadband-deployment-data-fcc-form-477.  The June 30, 2016 version includes any revisions made by filers before May 16, 2017; and therefore updates the fixed broadband deployment data released in connection with the report Internet Access Services: Status as of June 30, 2016, released in April.  Coverage area shapeflies showing mobile broadband network deployment as of June 30, 2016 will be available at a later date.

Users can download data on census blocks where providers report offering fixed broadband services to at least part of the block.  These data tables also indicate the technology used to offer the service and maximum advertised download/upload speeds for both consumer and business services.  The data is available in a comma separated value ("CSV") format for both the entire United States and for individual states.

A description of the fields in the fixed broadband deployment data and an explanation of the modifications to the data made prior to its release are available on the "Explanations of the Broadband Deployment Data" webpage at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/explanation-broadband-deployment-data.

Addition information on Form 477 is available on the Form 477 Resources for Filers webpage at http://www.fcc.gov/form477.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Regulatory Fee FY 2017 NPRM Published

The Commission has released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking  (“NPRM”) regarding the assessment and collection of regulatory fees for fiscal year (“FY”) 2017.  The Commission proposes and seeks comment on its proposal to collect $356,710,992 in regulatory fees for FY 2017.  The proposed regulatory fee schedule is available in Appendix A of the NPRM.

Comments are due June 22, 2017.
Reply Comments are due July 7, 2017.

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. FTEs are classified as "direct: if the employee is in one of the four "core" bureaus; otherwise, that employee is considered an "indirect" FTE. The total FTEs for each fee category includes the direct FTEs associated  with that category, plus a proportional allocation of the indirect FTEs. Each regulate within a fee category pays its proportionate share based on an objective measure, e.g., revenues or number of subscribers.
The NPRM seeks comment on the following:
  • The Commission proposes to collect $356,710,992 in regulatory fees for FY 2017.  (In FY 2016, the Commission proposed $384,012,497 in regulatory fees).
    • Of this amount, the Commission projects approximately $22.2 million in fees from the International Bureau regulatees, $88.7 million from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“WTB”) regulatees, $130.3 million from the Media Bureau regulatees, and $115.5 million from the Wireline Competition Bureau (“WCB”) regulatees.
  • The Commission believes that changes to USF regulatory landscape requires  a reevaluation of treating Universal Service Fund FTEs as direct FTEs, and seeks comment on its proposal to reallocate 38 FTEs associated with non-high-cost programs of the Universal Service Fund as indirect.
  • The Commission estimates that 7-8 FTEs in the WCB work on numbering issues, and proposes to reallocate four of these FTEs to the WTB as direct FTEs for regulatory purposes.
  • The NPRM also seeks comment on adjustments to Broadcaster and International Bearer Circuit ("IBC") regulatory fees.
  • The Commission seeks comment on increasing the de minimis threshold from $500 to $1,000 to improve the cost effectiveness of the Commission’s collection of regulatory fees and to provide regulatory fee relief to smaller entities, particularly those that have little Commission regulation or oversight.
    • The Commission seeks comment on whether it should include multi-year wireless licenses in the de minimis threshold; and if so, whether the threshold should be based on fee, number of licenses, frequencies, or paths the licensee holds. It also seeks comment on whether a de minimis threshold should be adopted based on number of cable television subscribers.
  • The Commission seeks comment on eliminating regulatory fee categories, such as CMRS Messaging (Paging), as its amounts to a negligible value in regulatory fees.
  • The Commission seeks comment on ways to further improve the regulatory fee process, to make it less burdensome for all entities; and seeks comment on ways it can communicate better with smaller regulatees, such as through mass emails.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.