The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“WTB”) and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (“PSHSB”) (“the Bureaus”) released a Public Notice reminding licensees, applicants, and registrants in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands of their filing and regulatory deadlines, and providing an additional two weeks for licensees to comply with previously granted waivers.

This Notice extends certain deadlines occurring between September 20, 2017 and March 19, 2018 until April 3, 2018 for affected licensees, applicants, and registrants in PR and USVI. The following deadlines are extended:

  1. Any deadlines previously extended until March 20, 2018 by the Puerto Rico Extension Public Notice, with respect to Wireless Radio Service applications, notifications, and reports, including license modifications, renewals, and notifications of construction, are extended until April 3, 2018. Licensees will not need to file individual waiver or extension requests or pay individual waiver fees, but must include with those filings a certification that the deadlines could not be met within the time otherwise provided because of the hurricane.
  2. All construction deadlines and other regulatory deadlines previously extended until March 20, 2018 are extended until April 3, 2018. Licensees will not need to file individual waiver or extension requests or pay individual waiver fees, but must include with those filings a certification that the deadlines could not be met within the time otherwise provided because of the hurricane.
  3. The Bureaus waive certain requirements relating to the environmental notification process. First, they expand the exception that currently applies to antenna structures that will be in place of no more than 60 days, in order to allow temporary towers to remain in place for a longer period without requiring environmental notification. Specifically, the Bureaus waive the Section 17.4(c) requirement to complete the environmental notification process for the construction or deployment of a temporary antenna structure that will be in place until no later than April 2, 2018, so long as the structure otherwise satisfies FCC rules. Temporary structures in place beyond that date will remain exempt from the environmental notification process, as long as they are not in place for more than 60 days from the time the structure was erected.
    • The Bureaus also waive the environmental notice requirement under Section 17.4(c) for structures constructed to restore service in the affected area. Pre- construction environmental notification will not be required in such cases, on the condition that applicants availing themselves of this waiver complete the notice as soon as practicable, but no later than April 3, 2018.
  4. The Bureaus waive Section 1.931(a) of the rules through April 2, 2018 to allow the filing of STA requests for Wireless Radio Services other than e-filing, e.g., by requesting STAs by telephone call to Communication staff. Further, all STA filings related to Hurricane Maria will be considered “emergency filings” and will be processed as quickly as possible. The notice lists all relevant contact information for filing STA requests via email or fax, or to receive an oral STA.

The Bureaus also remind affected parties that they can file waiver requests for relief not covered by this Public Notice. To facilitate restoration of services and infrastructure, through April 3, 2018, the Bureaus will give priority to the review of filings seeking a authority to operate in PR and the USVI.

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