Telecom Alert—911 Reliability Certification; Pole Attachment Declaratory Ruling; RF Safety Brief; Pro Forma Transaction Reform; KH Webinar on Dark Fiber—Vol. XVII, Issue 31
911 Reliability Certification Deadline
Last week, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice, announcing that the 911 Reliability Certification System is now open for providers to file annual reliability certifications. Filings are due on October 15, 2020. On the same day, the Commission issued an Order denying USTelecom’s waiver request, which sought a 90-day extension of the deadline. USTelecom’s request stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for providers that make it difficult to submit their certifications by the current deadline.” The Commission’s reasons for denying the request were that USTelecom failed “to state with sufficient particularity who needs relief from the Commission’s rule and why they need such relief.”
Pole Attachment Declaratory Ruling
On July 29, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling on two of the three pole attachment issues raised by CTIA. CTIA’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling, filed in September 2019, requested that the Commission regulate attachments to streetlight-only poles, affirm that utilities cannot impose blanket prohibitions on access to any portion (e.g. the unusable space) of the pole, and declare that attachment agreements can’t be inconsistent with FCC regulations (Vol. XVI; Issue 37). The Declaratory Ruling only addresses the blanket prohibition and attachment agreement requests, noting the streetlight-only pole request is still pending. Regarding attachment agreements, the Commission provided that parties may enter into agreements that are inconsistent with the Commission’s rules if the agreement is mutually beneficial. The Commission rules that utilities may not impose “blanket bans” on attachments, but affirms the value of utility standards and allows them to be enforced under certain conditions.
RF Safety Brief Filed in DC Circuit
A brief filed in the DC Circuit argues that the Commission failed to address health and safety concerns raised when it maintained the current RF exposure limits (Vol. XVI, Issue 49). The brief was filed jointly by the Environmental Health Trust and the Children’s Health Defense. The parties claim that the record shows “an enormous number of peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies, analyses, and reports demonstrating a consensus of the scientific community that radiofrequency radiation is harmful and sometimes lethal to individuals and the environment," but that the Commission’s Order ignored these filings.
Parties File Comments Regarding Pro Forma Transactions
In late June, the Commission sought comment on Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling filed jointly by CTIA and USTelecom. The Petition proposes the Commission amend the Commission’s rules to automatically deem pro forma transactions in the public interest and permit all pro forma transactions to be filed as a post-closing notification. In the alternative, the parties request that all pro forma transactions be approved automatically. The comment period closed on July 24, 2020, and several parties, including the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC), submitted comments expressing support for the Petition. Reply Comments are due August 10, 2020.