August 11, 2021 Weekly Wireless Wrap-Up

Welcome back to TLP’s Weekly Wireless Wrap-Up, your weekly update on the wireless telecommunications regulatory landscape, important wireless decisions, and more!  Notably, this week, the FCC held its August Open Meeting, where it adopted four items, and NTIA announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity which will provide 268 million in grants for expanding broadband access and connectivity to eligible minority institutions.  Here’s your wrap-up:

FCC:

  • Late last Tuesday, August 3, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice on the Rip and Replace Program, which finalized the application process, cost catalog, and replacement list. The adopted procedures largely match the Commission’s proposals with a few minor adjustments and clarifications.  For more information, see our post here.
  • Last Thursday, August 5, 2021, the FCC held its August Open Meeting. The FCC considered and adopted four items.  Two additional items were initially scheduled for consideration, but were adopted prior to the Open Meeting and deleted from the agenda.  For more information on the Open Meeting, see our post here.
  • In addition, at the Open Meeting, the FCC adopted three items that are of particular interest to Wireless Providers:
  • A Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes and seeks comment on updates to the Commission’s rules governing direct access to numbers directly from the Numbering Administrator by providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) services. For additional information, see our post here.
  • A Third Report and Order in the STIR/SHAKEN proceeding that establishes a process for voice service providers to appeal token authentication revocation decisions to the Commission. For more information, see our post here.
  • A Public Notice announcing two new Innovation Zones for Program Experimental Licenses and expanding the geographical boundary of previously established Innovation Zones. For more information, see our post here.
  • On Friday, August 6, 2021, the FCC released a new 4G LTE mobile coverage map of the nation’s four largest mobile wireless carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile, UScelllar, and Verizon. The map was created using the models, procedures, and data collection requirements established by the FCC as part of the Broadband Data Collection. For more information, and to view the map, see the FCC’s webpage here.
  • Today, August 11, 2021, a test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (“WEA”) is scheduled for 2:20 PM EDT (with a backup date of August 25, 2021). FEMA will originate the nationwide WEA test using the State/Local WEA Test category.  CMS Providers who have volunteered to participate are required to transmit the State/Local Test message and enable subscribers to opt in to receive it.  For more information, see our post here.

 NTIA:

  • On August 3, 2021, NTIA released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. The program will provide $268 million in grants for expanding broadband access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and consortia led by an HBCU, TCU, or MSI that also include a minority business enterprise or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on December 1, 2021.  For more information, see NTIA’s press release here.

Congress:

  • Yesterday, August 10, 2021, the Senate voted 69 to 30 to approve its bi-partisan infrastructure bill, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill includes more than $42 billion for deployment of fixed broadband services, defined as any fixed service (i.e. technologically neutral) having speeds of 100 MBs up and 20 MBs down.  The bill also includes funding for middle mile infrastructure, a replacement program of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, and more.  For more information, see Congress’ website here.

 For more information or assistance on telecommunications matters, please contact us.

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