March 28, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 87


March 27, 2023

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Telecom Alert:$100L NAL Over USF Filings; E-Rate Tribal Participation NPRM; 988 Outage Reporting NPRM Adopted; CPF Grants [Vol. XX, Issue 5]

$100K NAL Over USF Filings

Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against Pacific Data Systems (“Pacific”) for failure to timely file quarterly and annual worksheets with the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”).  Under the FCC’s rules, service providers required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (“USF”) must file FCC Form 499-A annually and Form 499-Q, with certain exceptions, quarterly.  Between August 1, 2019, and February 1, 2022, Pacific failed to file thirteen of the required worksheets with USAC.  Accordingly, the Enforcement Bureau proposes imposing a forfeiture of $100,000 against Pacific. 

E-Rate Tribal Participation NPRM

The FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its Open Meeting on February 16 seeking comments on ways to improve the E-Rate program to increase access for Tribal applicants.  In January 2022, the Commission amended the definition of “library” in the E-Rate program rules to clarify that Tribal libraries are eligible to participate (Vol. XIX, Issue 6).  Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on ways to improve the E-Rate application process, such as creating an extended or separate application filing window for Tribal libraries and simplifying cost-allocation rules and procedures.  It also seeks input on whether Tribal college libraries that serve a dual role in their communities should be eligible for E-Rate support. 

988 Outage Reporting NPRM Adopted

The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its Open Meeting on January 26 proposing rules implementing reporting and notice requirements for service outages potentially affecting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (“988 Lifeline”) (Vol. XX, Issue 2). The Commission would require service providers to report such outages to the FCC, HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (“SAMHSA”), the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the 988 Lifeline administrator.  The Commission also seeks comment on whether it should require cable, satellite, wireless, wireline, and interconnected VoIP providers to report outages.

CPF Grants for Four States

Last week, the Department of the Treasury announced the award of approximately $794 million in funding for Alabama, KentuckyNevada, and Texas for broadband projects through the Capital Projects Fund (the “Fund”) (Vol. XIX, Issue 50).  The Fund provides $10 billion to states, territories, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring.  To date, the Fund has awarded nearly $4.5 billion to states invested in high-speed internet infrastructure estimated to reach over 1.2 million homes and businesses. 

Casey Lide, Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Sean A. Stokes, and Wesley K. Wright also contributed to this article.

© 2023 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XIII, Number 31

About this Author


Jaimy “Sindy” Alarcon is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Licensing Specialist.

Sindy works in conjunction with the attorneys in the Telecommunications Practice to prepare FCC applications for clients seeking authority for new services, modifications, administrative updates, license cancellations, Requests for Special Temporary Authority (STA), Requests for Rule Waivers, Assignments of Authorization, Transfers of Control, Renewals, and Notifications of Construction for various radio services including microwave, land mobile, marine...

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC

James (Jim) Baller represents clients across the U.S. in a broad range of communications matters including high-capacity broadband network projects, public-private broadband partnerships, telecommunications, wireless facility siting, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Jim was the founder and president of the U.S. Broadband Coalition, a diverse group of more than 160 communications service providers, high technology companies, labor unions, public interest and consumer groups, state and local government entities,...

Law Graduate

Jason Chun is a Law Graduate with our Telecommunications practice (not yet licensed to practice law as he awaits admittance under the D.C. Bar's Emergency Examination Waiver).

Timothy A. Doughty, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Licensing Specialist, Lawyer, FCC Matters Attorney

Timothy Doughty joined Keller and Heckman in 2009 as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensing Specialist.

Mr. Doughty assists clients with the preparation of FCC applications, modifications, special temporary authorities, requests for rule waiver, renewals and spectrum leases in various radio services including Private Land Mobile, Microwave, Coast and Ground and Aircraft. His capabilities also include the preparation of tower registrations with the FCC and Obstruction Evaluations and Aeronautical Studies with the Federal Aviation...

C. Douglas Jarrett, Keller Heckman, telecommunications lawyer, procurement law

Douglas Jarrett joined Keller and Heckman in 1979. Mr. Jarrett specializes in telecommunications law, policy and procurement matters.

Mr. Jarrett is a recognized expert in representing enterprises in negotiating telecommunications services agreements with the major wireline and wireless carriers, domestically and globally.  He also advises enterprises on M2M services, cloud computing and IVR technology procurements. 

Mr. Jarrett represents technology companies in securing amendments to the FCC rules to enable the...