FCC Releases Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Amendments to Part 20 Rules

The Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Notice”) seeking comment on proposals to streamline and harmonize requirements for wireless licensees and applicants.  The Commission considers revising its Part 20 rules governing commercial mobile radio services (“CMRS”), eliminating Section 20.9, and making related rule changes.  The revisions are intended to eliminate the burden on applicants and licenses that want to operate on a non-CMRS basis to overcome the Section 20.9 presumption that their service offerings are intended to operate as CMRS.  The Commission does not intend to change any substantive CMRS regulatory policies with the proposals in the Notice.

The Commission seeks comment on its amendments to the Part 20 rules, and its conclusion to eliminate the CMRS presumption in Section 20.9 and replace it by allowing applicants and licensees to inform initial, modification or assignment applications of their regulatory status.  It also seeks comment on the following proposals, among others:

  • Shortening the period for application processing and lessening regulatory requirements for licenses and applicants;
  • Relying on Section 20.3, which defines CMRS, to ensure that the Commission will continue to  treat services operating as functionally equivalent to CMRS in the same way as CMRS, and remove processing differences across types of wireless applications;
  • Modifying or making corrective edits to certain definitions and cross-references within the rules to better define terms in Part 20;
  • Whether retaining Section 20.9(a)(14), which lays out the process for challenging whether a service is CMRS or not is necessary; and
  • Eliminating Section 20.7, which prescribes an “under-inclusive” list of services that fall within the definition of “mobile services.”
  • Any necessary changes to the FCC’s form (i.e., Form 603).

Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.Reply Comments are due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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