Bennet & Bennet, PLLC

Prefer more in-depth coverage?

Subscribe to the Informational Memos
Rural Spectrum Scanner

FCC To Hold September 29 Webinar on Rural Broadband Experiment Application Process

Posted on September 22, 2014

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) will hold a webinar that provides instructions on how to complete FCC Form 5610, which is the form that will be used to submit bids for rural broadband experiment support.  The webinar will take place on Monday, September 29, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.  Additional information on how interested parties can view the Bureau’s webinar, along with additional details regarding the application form, will be released in the coming days.  Applications for rural broadband experiment support will be due no later than 6:00 p.m. EST on October 14, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Tony Veach.

Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks to Terminate Additional Proceedings

Posted on September 22, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau) has released a new Public Notice seeking comments on the possible termination of the proceedings listed here. This Public Notice closely follows a September 15, 2014 Commission Order terminating a number of proceedings. Candidates for termination may include dockets in which no further action is required or contemplated, as well as those in which no pleadings or other documents have been filed for several years.  Per Commission order, proceedings in which petitions addressing the merits are pending should not be terminated without the parties’ consent.  A party’s failure to file comments will be construed as consent to terminate that proceeding. A party aggrieved by a docket termination may file a petition for reconsideration with the Bureau or an application for review with the full Commission.  Comments are due 30 days after the Public Notice is published in the Federal Register, and replies will be due 15 days later.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

Appeal of 2005 T-Mobile Order Denied – Rules Not At Odds With Rural Exemption

Posted on September 22, 2014

It has been more than nine years since Ronan Telephone Company and Hot Springs Telephone Company appealed the Commission’s T-Mobile Order, which banned ILECs from filing state tariffs for terminating wireless-originated local traffic and amended Section 20.11 of the FCC’s rules to allow ILECs to request interconnection from CMRS carriers pursuant to the same negotiation and arbitration procedures outlined in Section 252 of the Communications Act.  After the matter has gone back and forth between the Ninth Circuit and the FCC, the FCC has ruled that the 2005 T-Mobile Order “is not at odds with the section 251(f)(1) rural exemption” because the T-Mobile Order was adopted pursuant to the FCC’s plenary powers outlined in Sections 201 and 332 of the Act and the rural exemption is limited to exempting rural carriers from obligations outlined in Section 251(c) of the Act, not Sections 201 or 332. For this reason, the FCC has ruled that the T-Mobile Order does not conflict with the rural exemption or preempt state commission authority under Section 251.  The Commission also found that while it referenced Section 252 of the Act, the reference was intended to describe “in an abbreviated manner” duties that are similar to those outlined in Section 252 and were not intended to apply Section 252 to carriers that were not subject to that section of the Act.

For additional information, please contact Tara Shostek.

Comment Sought Regarding AWS-3 Tribal Land Bidding Credit Eligibility

Posted on September 17, 2014

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is seeking comment on an expedited petition for waiver. The waiver requests that the Federal Communications Commission treat the Eastern Navajo Agency in New Mexico as a federally-recognized Tribal land for purposes of the tribal lands bidding credits available to winning bidders in the Advanced Wireless Service (AWS)-3 Auction (designated Auction 97). Auction 97 is scheduled to begin on November 13, 2014. Comments on the petition are due September 30, 2014, and replies are due October 7, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Terminates Dormant Proceedings

Posted on September 16, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (Bureau) has released an Order terminating a list of dormant proceedings provided here. The Bureau stated that these terminations further the Commission’s organizational goals of increasing efficiency, modernizing the agency’s processes, and enhancing the openness and transparency of Commission proceedings. After reviewing submissions to the record and further evaluation, the Bureau determined that one proceeding initially slated for termination, WC Docket No. 04-6 (In the Matter of ASAP Paging, Inc., Petition for Preemption of Public Utility Commission of Texas Concerning Retail of Local Calls to CMRS Carriers), should remain open.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

December 2014 Reporting Deadline Established for Onerous Special Access Reporting Requirements; Deadline for Filing Comments on 2012 FNPRM Extended

Posted on September 16, 2014

In 2012, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and FNPRM requiring providers and purchasers of special access services and certain “best efforts” services to comply with a mandatory reporting requirement that would allow the Commission to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the special access market. Although the reporting requirement is very detailed and compliance will likely be onerous for small and rural wireless and wireline carriers, the Office of Management and Budget approved the data collection, with changes.  On September 15, 2014, the Commission released an Order on Reconsideration outlining the revised reporting instructions.  Responses to the Special Access data collection are due no later than December 15, 2014.

In addition, the 2012 FNPRM sought comment on certain issues that were dependent on the FCC’s final data reporting requirements, which were only just finalized. Therefore, the Commission has extended the 2012 FNPRM comment deadline to April 6, 2014 and the reply comment deadline to May 18, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Tara Shostek.

Process to Appeal USAC Actions Streamlined

Posted on September 16, 2014

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has revised its procedures to resolve appeals of Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) actions.  To speed up the disposition of these appeals, the Bureau has announced that it periodically will issue public notices disposing of USAC appeals “that do not involve complicated and/or controversial issues, in a manner consistent with [FCC] and/or Bureau precedent.”  Such public notices will categorize decisions by the applicable universal service program and indicate merely whether the appeals were granted or denied without further explanation.  For appeals involving more complicated issues where the Bureau believes it would benefit the public to issue a detailed decision, the Bureau will continue to resolve those appeals separately.  Concurrent with release of this announcement, the Bureau has disposed of 29 USAC appeals.  Petitions for reconsideration or applications for review concerning the Bureau’s disposition of any of these USAC appeals are due by October 15, 2014.

For additional information, please contact Bob Silverman.

Legislation Introduced to Combat Caller ID Scammers

Posted on September 16, 2014

Senate Commerce Committee member Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) have introduced legislation to expand and clarify the prohibition on inaccurate caller ID information. In 2009, Congress passed legislation that prohibits falsifying caller ID numbers where it is done to defraud or otherwise cause harm. Known as the “Caller ID Scam Prevention Act of 2014,” S. 2787 would broaden that law to combat new tactics used by criminals. In particular, it would prohibit foreigners from falsifying caller ID numbers when calling U.S. consumers and expand the law to include text messages. The bill would also cover new internet-based VoIP services that enable callers to make outgoing-only calls from computers and tablets to mobile and landline phones. S. 2787 has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee for consideration.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

October 16 Comment Deadline Set for Text-to-911 Proceeding

Posted on September 16, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission’s Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in its text-to-911 proceeding has been published in the Federal Register, triggering the deadlines for filing comments and reply comments.  Comments are due October 16, 2014, and reply comments are due November 17.  The NPRM proposes among other things that within two years, wireless carriers and other covered text providers be capable of delivering “enhanced location information” to requesting PSAPs along with texts to 911, and that they support roaming for text-to-911.

For additional information, please contact Michael Bennet.

FCC OKs Changes to Google White Space Database

Posted on September 12, 2014

Google’s modified TV white space (TVWS) database registration procedures, which include new procedures for registering protected facilities, have been approved by the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology. Under Part 15 of the FCC’s rules, an unlicensed TV radio device may be operated in the TVWS provided the device contacts an authorized database system for a list of available channels in the device’s location and only operates on those channels. The FCC’s databases contain the majority of the technical information Google and other TVWS data base administrators need to include in their databases to protect licensed TV operators. However, TVWS database administrators must allow for the registration of facilities that are entitled to protection, but whose operating information is not available from the FCC databases. These facilities include licensed and approved unlicensed wireless microphones venues, multiple video program distributor receive sites, and temporary broadcast auxiliary links that are not in the FCC’s database.

For additional information, please contact Tara Shostek.