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FCC Issues Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft Order

Posted on April 18, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission has released a Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration for Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAA). ESAAs receive from, and transmit to, a geostationary orbit (GSO) Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) satellite. ESAAs, when combined with technologies such as Wi-Fi inside the aircraft hull, offer broadband services for in-flight passengers and crew aboard commercial and private aircraft. The Report and Order will promote regulatory parity by adopting a primary allocation for ESAA in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band. The Order on Reconsideration clarifies some ESAA rules, a result of a petition for reconsideration and clarification filed by The Boeing Company. These changes will promote regulatory and operational certainty for ESAA systems sharing spectrum with other applications in the FSS.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

FCC Announces Comment Dates for Network Non-Duplication and Syndicated Exclusivity Rules

Posted on April 18, 2014

The FCC has announced the deadlines for filing comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that addresses whether the FCC should eliminate the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.  Comments must be filed with the Commission by May 12, 2014 and reply comments must be filed by June 9, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Tara Shostek.

FCC Fine-Tunes its Cost Model, Releases Version 4.1.1

Posted on April 18, 2014

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has released version 4.1.1 of the Connect America Cost Model which makes a few minor corrections to the preceding version, but does not materially affect the funding levels previously released by the Bureau.  Version 4.1.1 contains the following updates:

  • Corrections to the broadband coverage for approximately 5400 census blocks to reflect the fact that they are not served by a fixed wireless provider;
  • Updates to the TelcoMaster table to incorporate corrections to certain holding company names; and
  • Modifications to certain headers and field descriptions on two Connect America Cost Model reports.

Including version 4.1.1, the Bureau has now released eleven versions of the cost model that will be used to formulate the amount of Connect America Fund Phase II support that will be offered to price cap carriers.  Users that have executed the relevant acknowledgement of confidentiality, licensing, and nondisclosure documents released as attachments to the Third Supplemental Protective Order can access the cost model here.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

FCC to Host State and Local Government Webinar

Posted on April 18, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs will host a webinar for state and local Governments on April 22, 2014, from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. (EDT). Participants will hear from FCC staff members that are subject matter experts on topics such as modernizing the E-Rate program, the IP transition, the wireless infrastructure siting rulemaking, next generation 911, and closed captioning. To participate, view the webcast at www.fcc.gov/live.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

WTB Reschedules Environmental Compliance and Historic Preservation Workshops

Posted on April 18, 2014

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has changed the date for two educational workshops. The first, Towers and Collocations, will take place on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, rather than Monday, May 19, 2014. The second, Positive Train Control Infrastructure, will take place on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, rather than Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Both workshops will run from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (EDT). Participants may attend in person, or via webcast. To access the webcast, visit http://www.fcc.gov.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

Massive CAF/USF Reform Item Headlines FCC April 23 Open Meeting

Posted on April 17, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission will hold its next open meeting on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.  The final agenda contains the following two items:

  • Connect America Fund/Universal Service Reform/Intercarrier Compensation Reform/Mobility Fund.  The Commission will consider a Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, Order, Memorandum Opinion and Order, Seventh Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that continues the implementation of the USF/ICC Transformation Order.  Among other things, the item is expected to further implement CAF Phase II in price cap carrier areas, seek comment on universal service reforms that will supplant the quantile regression analysis, address issues related to Phase II of the Mobility Fund, and seek comment on increasing broadband speed obligations that accompany the receipt of universal service support.
  • Citizens Broadband Radio Service.  The Commission will consider a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would implement a three-tier spectrum sharing approach to make up to 150 megahertz of spectrum available for wireless broadband use in the 3550-3700 MHz band.

Additionally, the Commission has announced it will consider five items as part of a separate consent agenda.  The April 23 open meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., and will be shown live at FCC.gov/live.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

Wireless Industry Collaborates on Smartphone Anti-Theft Initiative

Posted on April 16, 2014

CTIA – The Wireless Association has announced a Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment. Smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers have been criticized in the past for not doing enough to prevent smartphone theft. Device manufacturers and operating system signatories to the commitment agree that new smartphone models manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the U.S. will offer a free baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to: (1) remote wipe the authorized user’s data that is on the smartphone if it is lost or stolen; (2) render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user, except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user; (3) prevent reactivation without the authorized user’s permission  to the extent technologically feasible; and (4) reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible. In addition, each network operator signatory commits to permit the availability and full usability of a baseline anti-theft tool to be preloaded or downloadable on smartphones as specified.

The following network operators, device manufacturers and operating system companies are participating in the voluntary commitment: Apple Inc.; Asurion; AT&T; Google Inc.; HTC America, Inc.; Huawei Device USA; Motorola Mobility LLC; Microsoft Corporation; Nokia, Inc.; Samsung Telecommunications America, L.P.; Sprint Corporation; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

Bureau Determines ClearRF Booster Does Not Provide Equivalent Protection

Posted on April 16, 2014

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) has denied ClearRF’s request that the Bureau make a determination that ClearRF’s signal booster (Model Number WRE2710) provides “equivalent protection” and satisfies the Network Protection Standard found in the FCC’s signal booster rules.  Adopted in February 2013, the FCC’s signal booster rules are designed to allow for the use of signal boosters while preventing, controlling, and, if necessary, resolving interference by such devices to wireless networks.  Booster manufacturers that are not able to meet the technical parameters in the interference portion of the rules may receive a waiver if they are able to demonstrate that their equipment provides equivalent interference protections.  The Bureau denied ClearRF’s request because it determined that ClearRF failed to demonstrate equivalent protection with respect to: (i) the FCC’s bidirectional capability requirement; and (ii) the FCC’s booster gain limits requirement.  Additionally, in denying ClearRF’s request, the Bureau noted that ClearRF generally failed to provide technical analysis, technical specificity, or test data regarding its signal booster.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

NTIA Website Spectrum.gov Goes Live

Posted on April 16, 2014

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently unveiled Spectrum.gov, a new website designed to provide information regarding how federal agencies use their designated frequencies. The website contains information for each frequency band in which the federal government has significant operations on an exclusive or shared basis. The data, which will be updated frequently, provides a band-by-band description of how spectrum is used by federal agencies, the number and type of frequency assignments NTIA has authorized, and the percentage of frequency assignments by category. Spectrum.gov also features a contour map showing where federal systems that utilize spectrum are located across the country.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

Comments on RUS Broadband Loan Information Collection Due June 13

Posted on April 16, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has announced it will seek approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for an information collection related to its Broadband Loan Program.  Specifically, RUS will request an extension of a currently approved information collection (OMB Control Number 0572–0130).  RUS has invited interested parties to comment on the information collection prior to its submission to OMB.  Comments must be received by RUS by June 13, 2014.  All responses received by RUS will be summarized and included in its request for OMB approval.  The items covered by the information collection include forms and documentation related to its Broadband Loan Program, such as Form 532 (Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Application).

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.