FCC Publishes Safe Connections Report and Order in Fed. Reg.

On December 5, 2023, the FCC published in the Federal Register the Report and Order (“R&O”) adopting rules to implement the Safe Connections Act of 2022 and improve access and affordability to communications services for survivors of domestic abuse and related crimes.

The R&O is effective January 14, 2024.  Compliance schedules are as follows:

  • Compliance with 47 CFR 64.6408: Protection of the Privacy of Calls and Text Messages to Covered Hotlines (e.g., omit records of hotline calls from consumer-facing logs, maintain internal records, responsibility for database downloads), is as follows:
    • With respect to covered providers that are not small service providers:  December 5, 2024 (one year after date of publication in the Federal Register).  In the event the Wireline Competition Bureau has not released the database download file specification by April 5, 2024 (4 months after date of publication in the federal register or in the event the Wireline Competition Bureau has not announced that the database administrator has made the initial database download file available for testing by October 7, 2024 (10 months after date of publication in the Federal Register), the compliance deadline shall be extended consistent with the delay, and the Wireline Competition Bureau is delegated authority to revise this § 64.6408 accordingly.
    • With respect to small covered providers: June 5, 2025 (18 months after date of publication in the federal register).  In the event the Wireline Competition Bureau has not released the database download file specification by October 7, 2024 (10 months after date of publication in the Federal Register), or in the event the Wireline Competition Bureau has not announced that the database administrator has made the initial database download file available for testing by April 7, 2025 (16 months after date of publication in the federal register, the compliance deadline shall be extended consistent with the delay, and the Wireline Competition Bureau is delegated authority to revise this § 64.6408 accordingly.
  • Compliance with the revisions to 47 CFR 54.403, 54.405, 54.409, 54.410, 54.1800, and 64.2010 and the addition of 47 CFR 54.424 and 64.6400 through 64.6407 is delayed indefinitely.  The FCC will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the compliance date for those sections.
    • The amendments to 47 CFR 54.403, Lifeline Support Amount, which grants survivors emergency communications support of up to $9.25 per month under the lifeline program.
    • The Amendments to 47 CFR 54.405, Carrier Obligation to Offer Lifeline, which set forth Lifeline de-enrollment procedures for survivors after six months that do not otherwise qualify for Lifeline support.
    • The Amendments to 47 CFR 54.409, Consumer Qualification for Lifeline, which expanded the qualifications for Lifeline to include survivors under the Safe Connections Act.
    • The amendments to 47 CFR 54.410, Subscriber Eligibility Determination and Certification, which expanded the eligibility determination criteria for Lifeline to include the requirements for survivors under the Safe Connections Act.
    • The inclusion in part 54 of 47 CFR 54.424, Emergency Communications Support For Survivors, which requires providers to offer emergency communications support to survivors under the Safe Connections Act, via Lifeline, for six months.
    • The amendments to 47 CFR 54.1800, Definitions, to include the new qualifications for Lifeline under the Safe Connections Act.
    • The amendments to 47 CFR 64.2010, Safeguards on the Disclosure of Customer Proprietary Network Information, which excepted requests for separation under the Safe Connections Act from the consumer notification requirement.
    • The inclusion in part 64 of 47 CFR 64.6400, Definitions, which contains the definitions for the Safe Connections Act adopted in the R&O.
    • The addition of 64.6401 concerning Line Separation Request Submission Requirements.
    • The addition of 64.6402 concerning Processing of Separation of Lines from a Shared Mobile Service Contract.
    • The addition of 64.6403 concerning Establishment of Mechanisms for Submission of Line Separation Requests.
    • The addition of 64.6404 concerning Prohibitions, Limitations, and Financial Responsibility for Line Separation Requests.
    • The addition of 64.6405 concerning Notice of Line Separation.
    • The inclusion in part 64 of 47 CFR 64.6407, Employee Training, which requires a covered provider to train its employees that may interact with survivors regarding line separation requests on how to assist them.

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