Telecom Alert-27.1% USF Contribution Factor; Coalition Fight Against NCTA Pole Attachment Petition; ACHP Seeks Comment on Twilight Towers; Trump Nominates Simington to FCC; TCPA Exception COVID-19; KH Webinar 900 MHz Rebanding—Vol. XVII, Issue 38
Q4 USF Contribution Factor of 27.1% Announced
Last week the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2020 will be 27.1 percent. This is up from the third quarter of 2020, which was 26.5 percent. If the Commission takes no action regarding the projections of demand and administrative expenses associated with the universal service programs within 14 days of the date of the Public Notice, then the proposed factor will be deemed approved.
Coalition Continues Fight Against NCTA Pole Attachment Petition
The Coalition of Concerned Utilities (Arizona Public Service Co., Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Evergy, Eversource Energy, Exelon Corp., FirstEnergy, Minnesota Power and NorthWestern Energy) last week filed Reply Comments with the Commission explaining further that NCTA’s pole attachment petition (Vol. XVII, Issue 36) asking the FCC to require investor-owned utilities to pay the lion’s share of costs for replacing poles and to speed up those pole replacements is misguided, counterproductive and anticompetitive. The Coalition responded to several commenters’ misunderstandings about utility practices and noted that significant rural broadband deployments identified by attachers themselves demonstrate that the current balance of utility and attacher interests continues to enable the deployment of rural broadband.
ACHP Seeks Comment on Twilight Tower Collocation Proposal
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is seeking comment on an FCC proposal to establish a process for considering the effects of collocations on twilight towers. Twilight towers are structures for which no Section 106 review was completed and were constructed between the adoption of the 2001 collocation nationwide programmatic agreement and the effective date of the 2005 wireless facilities nationwide programmatic agreement. Comments are due by September 25, 2020.
Trump Nominates Simington to FCC
On September 16 President Trump nominated National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) adviser Nathan A. Simington to fill FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s position, whose term expired on June 30, 2019. Mr. Simington joined NTIA in June, and prior to his appointment to NTIA was Senior Counsel to Brightstar Corporation.
Comment Sought on TCPA Exception for COVID-19
The FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a request filed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) that requested clarification of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), arguing that communications from pharmacies related to COVID-19 vaccines fall within the TCPA’s “emergency purposes” exception to the prior express consent requirement. Comments are due September 25 and Reply Comments are due by October 2.