Welcome back to TLP’s Weekly Wireless Wrap-Up, your weekly update on the wireless telecommunications regulatory landscape, important wireless decisions, and more! This week, the FCC held its June Open Meeting and released several orders relevant to wireless providers, and NTIA released its latest interactive broadband map and Federal Funding Guide, among other things. Here’s your wrap up:
- Last Thursday, June 17, 2021, the FCC held its June Open Meeting. The Commission considered and adopted six items. Eight items were initially slated for consideration at the meeting, two items were adopted prior to the meeting and deleted from the agenda in a Deletion Notice. For more information regarding the items considered at the meeting, see our post here.
- At the June Open Meeting, the FCC adopted four items that are of particular relevance to wireless providers:
- A Report and Order establishing a streamlined process for private entities to submit information about unlawful, unwanted calls. Corporate entities will now be able to submit information about spoofed calls and robocalls to an online database that is maintained by the Enforcement Bureau. For more information, see our post here.
- A Report and Order modernizing the FCC’s radiofrequency device marketing and importation rules. The new rules will allow equipment manufacturers and importers to import and market a limited number of RF devices prior to receiving FCC approval for the device, provided certain labeling, ownership, and planning criteria are met. For more information, see our post here.
- A Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on improving the efficacy of the country’s Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts. The Report and Order adopts a new, non-optional class of National Alerts, establishes a voluntary reporting system for false alerts, and adopts a new rule allowing for repeated alerts, among other things. The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on deleting certain terms and redefining EAS event codes to bring them into conformity with current practices. For more information, see our post here.
- A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on changes to the FCC’s equipment authorization rules to better secure the nation’s communications networks. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes modifying the FCC’s equipment authorization rules to prohibit the marketing of equipment listed on the FCC’s “Covered List,” revoking authorizations of equipment listed on the “Covered List,” and methods to prevent equipment listed on the “Covered List” from being added to the nation’s networks, among other things. The Notice of Inquiry seeks comment on how the FCC might leverage the equipment authorization program to incentivize manufacturers to consider cybersecurity standards and guidelines. For more information, see our post here.
- On Thursday, the Enforcement Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment on the selection of the registered traceback consortium. The FCC is required to consider new interested consortia on an annual basis. In 2021, ZipDX submitted a letter of intent to be designated as the registered consortium and USTelecom seeks to retain its status as the registered consortium. The Bureau seeks comment on both companies’ requests. For more information, see our post here.
- On Monday, June 21, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice reminding voice service providers and intermediate service providers of two upcoming STIR/SHAKEN deadlines. Voice service providers and intermediate service providers that did not receive an extension or exemption are required to implement STIR/SHAKEN on the IP portions of their networks no later than June 30, 2021. Similarly, all voice service providers, regardless of whether they received an exemption, are required to file certifications in the Robocall Mitigation Database no later than June 30, 2021. For more information, see our post here.
- Last Thursday, June 17, 2021, NTIA released its new digital interactive map, which utilizes existing aggregated population and speed-test data to illustrate broadband needs and gaps across the country. The map allows users to graphically compare various data sources to view current broadband availability and speeds across different regions and population groups. For more information, see NTIA’s press release here and the map here.
- NTIA also released its updated 2021 Federal Funding Guide. The guide includes information about funding opportunities for industry, state and local governments, schools, libraries, small businesses, and other institutions that are interested in expanding and improving broadband access. Funding opportunities include grants, loans, indirect support, and discounts depending on the applicant, region, and projects involved. For more information, see NTIA’s website here.
- Last Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Underserved, Agricultural, and Rural Development held a hearing entitled “Supporting Small Entities Through Investments in the National Infrastructure Broadband.” The hearing focused on the lack of reliable access to broadband at benchmark speeds in many regions of the country and examined strategies to reduce the digital divide. Witnesses included Peggy Shaffer from the ConnectMain Authority, Dan Sullivan from Downeast Broadband Utility, Matt Dunne from the Center on Rural Innovation, and Tim Waibel from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. For more information and to view the hearing, see the Committee’s webpage here.
- On Tuesday, June 22, 2021 the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband held a hearing entitled “Building Resilient Networks.” The hearing focused on ways the federal government can help support deployment of resilient, redundant, and secure broadband and telecommunications infrastructure, and reviewed lessons learned from past outage incidents. Witnesses included Harold Feld of Public Knowledge, Jonathan Adelstein of the Wireless Infrastructure Association, Denny Law of Golden West Telecommunications, and Jeff Johnson of the Wester Fire Chiefs Association. For more information and to view the hearing, see the Committee’s webpage here.
Relevant Court Decisions:
- On Friday, June 18, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision on Huawei’s Petition for Review of the FCC’s decision designating the company as a national security risk. The Fifth Circuit denied Huawei’s Petition, finding that it is within the FCC’s purview to assess security risks to telecommunications networks and that the agency acted reasonably within its broad authority to regulate communications. For more information, see the decision here.
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