3.65 Comments Extended; FirstNet 2016 Consultation; Municipal Broadband; M&A Compliance
3.65 Comments Extended
Today the FCC released a Public Notice extending the comment filing deadline for its proposal on how to define Grandfathered Wireless Protection Zones under the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service for the 3550-3700 MHz band (3.5 GHz band). The Commission has extended the comment deadline to December 28, 2015, and the deadline for reply comments has been extended to January 12, 2016.
FirstNet 2016 Consultation
Last week in a blog post, FirstNet announced the official launch of its 2016 consultation program. The agency also sent planning packages to the Single Points of Contacts (SPOCS) for all 56 states and territories. The package provides an overview of FirstNet’s consultation approach and includes tools to assist SPOCS with preparing for consultation. In the announcement, FirstNet also reiterated its three goals for 2016: (1) expanding outreach and education with state/territory, tribal, local, and public safety entities; (2) obtaining state and territory input to inform State Plans and network deployment policies, processes, and procedures; and (3) preparing key decision makers for State Plan delivery and network deployment.
This month, a group of six Republican Senators sent a letter to the FCC expressing concern over the Commission’s encouragement of the deployment of broadband networks by municipal governments. The letter referenced the FCC’s recent preemption of state regulations in Tennessee and North Carolina which prevented municipal broadband networks from expanding. The letter asked the Commission to provide detailed information regarding the FCC’s outreach efforts to municipal broadband providers, including the dollar amount committed to municipal broadband providers through the Universal Service Fund’s Rural Broadband Experiments funds.
As the end of the year approaches, licensees are reminded that Section 310(d) of the Communications Act requires entities to secure the FCC’s prior consent to assign or transfer control of an FCC license as part of any transaction. Failure to comply with the FCC’s rules may result in substantial fines and other penalties.