Welcome back and we hope you all had a great first week of October! Below you will find TLP’s Weekly Wireless Wrap-Up, your weekly update on the wireless telecommunications regulatory landscape, important wireless decisions, and more! It was a busy week for the FCC as it held its September Open Meeting, where it adopted seven new items, and also released the Tentative Agenda for the October Open Meeting. Here’s your wrap-up:
- Last Thursday, September 30, 2021, the FCC held its September Open Meeting, during which the FCC considered and adopted seven items. Two items that were originally listed on the Agenda were adopted prior to the meeting and deleted from the Agenda in this Deletion Notice. For more information on the Open Meeting, see our post here.
- At the Open Meeting, the FCC adopted several items that are relevant to wireless providers, including:
- A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on amending the FCC’s Local Number Portability and Customer Proprietary Network Information rules to help protect consumers against SIM swapping and port-out fraud. The item was a late addition to the Open Meeting. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- A Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on extending STIR/SHAKEN to gateway providers. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- A Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on rules that would require voice service providers to block autodialed calls made to PSAP telephone numbers registered on the PSAP Do-Not-Call Registry. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- A Second Report and Order adopting standardized national security and law enforcement questions that certain applicants and petitioners with reportable foreign ownership will be required to answer as part of the Executive Branch review process for certain applications and petitions. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on measures to help improve the reliability and resiliency of communications networks during emergencies. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- An Order on Reconsideration and Eighth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the 4.9 GHz band. The Order vacates the FCC’s 2020 Sixth Report and Order adopting a state-by-state leasing framework for the 4.9 GHz band and the FNPRM seeks comment on a nationwide framework for the band. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- A Public Notice announcing the beginning of the process for authorizing 6 GHz band (5.625-7.125 GHz) automated frequency coordination (“AFC”) systems. This item was adopted prior to the Open Meeting and deleted from the Agenda. Initial proposals for AFC systems, which will help unlicensed users of the 6 GHz band avoid interference, are due by November 30, 2021. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- A Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on issues related to spectrum of the Internet of Things. This item was adopted prior to the Open Meeting and deleted from the agenda. Comments on the NOI are due on or before November 1, 2021 and reply comments are due on or before November 16, 2021. For more information and to view the document, see our post here.
- Also last Thursday, the Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice announcing best practices for equipment disposal under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program. Providers participating in the program are strongly recommended to utilize these practices to ensure that the FCC finds them in compliance with the rules and requirements for the program. For more information and to view the Best Practices, see our post here.
- In addition, the FCC also released a Public Notice last Thursday seeking comment on draft recommendations approved by the World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee for consideration at the 2023 World Radiocommunication Conference. The FCC has tentatively concluded that it can generally support most of the content in the draft, and seeks comment to assist the FCC in upcoming consultations with the US Department of State and NTIA in the development of US positions for the conference. Comments are due October 14, 2021. For more information, see the Notice here.
- On Friday, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the 2022 Telecommunications Reporting Worksheets and accompanying instructions. The Notice contains updated Forms 499-A and 499-Q which providers are required to use for 2022 reporting. For more information and to see copies of the forms, see our post here
- Yesterday, the FCC released the Tentative Agenda for the October Open Meeting, which will be held Tuesday, October 25, 2021 at 10:30 AM. The FCC is tentatively scheduled to consider four items. For more information and to view the Tentative Agenda, see our post here.
- Finally, this morning the FCC held its first Connecting the Disconnected Forum, which consisted of two panels. The first panel, entitled Communities Supporting Connectivity, focused on the digital divide and the second, entitled Emergency Broadband Benefit: Sharing Strategies for Success, forced on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. For more information, see the FCC’s press release here.
- Last Wednesday, September 29, 2021, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing entitled “Protecting Consumer Privacy.” The hearing examined how to better safeguard consumer privacy rights, including the need for a comprehensive federal privacy law. Witnesses included David Vladeck, Professor and Faculty Director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, Morgan Reed, President of the App Association, Maureen Ohlhausen, Partner and Section Chair (Antitrust and Competition Law) at Baker Botts, and Ashkan Soltani, Independent Researcher and Technologist. For more information and to view the hearing, see the Committee’s website here.
- Earlier today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing entitled “Enhancing Data Security.” The hearing continues the theme from last week, addressing the need to protect consumer privacy and safeguard data, this week focusing on recent cybersecurity incidences, the impact of data breaches on consumers and businesses, and the current state of commercial data security practices. Witnesses include James E. Lee, Chief Operating Officer at the Identity Theft Resource Center, Jessica Rich, Of Counsel at Kelley Drye and Former Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, Edward W. Felten, Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Former Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission, and Kate Tummarello, Executive Director at Engine. For more information and to view the hearing, see the Committee’s website here.
- Also earlier today, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing entitled “Strengthening Our Communications Networks to Meet the Needs of Consumers.” The hearing discusses twelve bills, currently before the House, all focused on ways to promote access to communications and strengthen the nation’s networks for the modern age. Witnesses include, the Honorable John Fogle, Concil Member of the City of Loveland, CO and member of the National League of Cities Information Technology and Communications Committee, Cheryl A. Leanza, Policy Advisor for the United Church of Christ, Tim Donovan, Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs of the Competitive Carriers Association, and Todd Brandenburg, President and CEO of PocketiNet. For more information and to view the hearing, see the Committee’s website here.
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