Telecom Alert - 2.5 GHz Band Rule Changes; OMB Approves UHF Central Station Alarm Frequency Order; T-Band Update; MDU Broadband Rulemaking; Proposed 3rd Quarter USF Contribution Factor - Vol. XVI, Issue 25
2.5 GHz Band Rule Changes
Last week FCC Chairman Pai circulated a draft Report and Order proposing changes to the rules regarding the 2.5 GHz band for the Commission’s consideration at its next open meeting on July 10th (Beyond Telecom Law Blog). The draft Report and Order proposes to eliminate the educational use requirement for the spectrum and to establish a priority filing window for Indian tribes located in rural areas to provide Tribal Nations with an opportunity to license 2.5 GHz spectrum to promote broadband deployment. Immediately following the completion of the Tribal priority filing window, the FCC plans to auction the remaining unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum.
OMB Approves UHF Central Station Alarm Frequency Order
The FCC’s Report and Order making Private Land Mobile Central Station Alarm channels available for licensing has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (Vol. XVI, Issue 3). Certain frequency coordinators are now accepting applications to license the spectrum where it is not already being operated by incumbents.
GAO Report Says T-Band Auction Could Harm First Responder Capabilities
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report last week recommending that Congress should consider legislation allowing public safety users to continue using the T-Band (470-512 MHz) (Vol. XIV, Issue 42). The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires the FCC to auction public safety spectrum in the T-Band by 2021 and relocate current users by 2023 (Vol. XIV, Issue 8). However, the GAO found that officials in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City still haven’t found a T-Band alternative and noted that relocating public safety operations in 11 metropolitan areas where the spectrum is currently used would cost approximately $5.9 billion. In 2018, bills were introduced in the House and Senate to repeal the requirement for the FCC to reallocate and auction the T-Band, but none were enacted. Another bill was introduced in January 2019 but remains in subcommittee with no further action.
MDU Broadband Rulemaking
The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Declaratory Order at its July 10 Open Meeting that is focused on the provision of broadband service to multitenant commercial properties and MDUs (apartment complexes). The item also addresses distributed antenna systems and rooftop leases. While the Declaratory Ruling is largely consistent with widespread industry practices, many proposals for which the FCC is requesting comment bear little relationship to marketplace realities and are largely irrelevant to bridging the digital divide.
Proposed Third Quarter USF Contribution Factor
Earlier this month the Commission announced that the proposed Universal Service Contribution factor for the third quarter of 2019 will be 24.4 percent. The proposed contribution factor will be deemed approved if the Commission takes no action by June 26.
Tribal Workshop Announced
The FCC announced a one-day workshop for Tribal governments, Tribal employees, and Tribal members to provide information to help Tribal Nations identify and evaluate opportunities to develop more robust communications infrastructure and services in Tribal Communities. The workshop will be held on July 17, 2019 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.