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Telecom Alert: Broadband Data Collection Early Access; ACP Pleading Cycle; 911 Fee Diversion Ex Parte; Offshore Spectrum NOI; Rural Broadband Funding [Vol. XIX, Issue 26]

Broadband Data Task Force Grants Early Access to BDC System

Last week, the Broadband Data Task Force (“Task Force”) announced that fixed and mobile broadband providers, as well as other filers of broadband availability data, will be able to obtain early access to the Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) system before the June 30 filing window opens (Vol. XIX, Issue 25).  This will allow users to familiarize themselves with the BDC system and enter identifying entity information in advance of the filing period.  Beginning June 30, facilities-based service providers with one or more service connections are required to file data in the BDC system showing where they make mass market internet access service available.

Affordable Connectivity Program Pleading Cycle

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on the statutorily mandated data collection related to the Affordable Connectivity Program was published in the Federal Register last week.  Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on the types of price and subscription rate information that should be included in its data collection, as well as other service plan characteristics.  Comments and reply comments are due by July 25 and August 8, respectively.

911 Fee Diversion Ex Parte

On June 20, the local Illinois chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (“IL-APCO”) and the National Emergency Number Association (“IL-NENA”) submitted an ex parte letter to the FCC requesting clarification on whether the transfer of surcharge funds from a 911 fund to a 988 fund constitutes a diversion of 911 fees.  In 2021, the FCC adopted a Report and Order to address 911 fee diversion and promulgate rules pursuant to its authority under Section 902 of the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020 (“Act”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 26).  In passing the Act, Congress sought to restrict or eliminate the diversion of 911 fees for purposes other than the support of 911 systems.  The letter seeks guidance from the FCC as to whether Illinois could be disqualified from receiving Next Generation 911 grant funding if it uses 911 fees to fund its 988 system.

Offshore Spectrum NOI Pleading Cycle

The FCC’s Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on whether changes should be made to the Commission’s rules to facilitate development of commercial and private wireless networks offshore was published in the Federal Register on June 27 (Vol. XIX, Issue 21).  The Commission seeks comment on potential spectrum rights models and assignment mechanisms for initial licensing of offshore operations, as well as which individual bands could best support these operations.

Rural Broadband Funding Approved

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill, which includes more than $560 million for rural broadband programs.  This includes $450 million for the Rural Utilities Service’s ReConnect program and $60 million in grants for telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas. 

Gregory Kunkle, Casey Lide, Thomas Magee, Tracy Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Sean Stokes, and Wesley Wright also contributed to this article.

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 178

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...