Telecom Alert: Broadband Data Collection Help Center; $48K Consent Decree; Affordable Connectivity Program NPRM; $16M Lifeline Settlement, [Vol. XIX, Issue 23]
Broadband Data Collection Help Center
Last week, the FCC announced the launch of an online help center to assist internet service providers and other filers of verified broadband availability data prepare their submissions for the Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) (Vol. XIX, Issue 22). The help center contains technical information on how to prepare availability and subscription data for filing. With the filing window opening on June 30, facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile broadband internet access services must submit broadband availability data by September 1, 2022.
$48K Consent Decree for Outage Report Failure
On June 2, the FCC entered into a Consent Decree with Liberty Mobile USVI, Inc. (“Liberty”), ending its investigation into Liberty’s failure to report a network outage on its network in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The network outage occurred when a fiber optic cable was inadvertently cut by a third party during an excavation project. Liberty failed to file required Notifications with the FCC within 120 minutes of discovering the outage and within 72 hours of the outage. The Consent Decree required Liberty to pay a $48,000 civil penalty, implement a compliance plan, and submit annual compliance reports to the Commission over the next three years.
Affordable Connectivity Program NPRM
The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its open meeting on June 8 seeking comment on a statutorily mandated annual data collection relating to the price and subscription rates of internet service offerings received by households enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program. The draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was circulated among the Commissioners’ offices last month and was added to the June Open Meeting agenda last week.
$16M Lifeline Settlement
The FCC entered into a Consent Decree with American Broadband & Telecommunications Company (“American Broadband”) for violating the Commission’s Lifeline Program rules. Specifically, American Broadband allegedly: (i) sought support for ineligible and duplicate Lifeline accounts; (ii) sought support for deceased individuals; (iii) filed improper Form 497s; (vi) failed to de-enroll ineligible subscribers; (v) failed to adequately screen, train, or supervise the third-party sales agents used to enroll subscribers; and (vi) failed to maintain proper compliance procedures. American Broadband agreed to pay a total settlement of $16,618,235.44 and implement enhanced compliance measures.
Gregory E. Kunkle, Casey Lide, Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Sean A. Stokes, and Wesley K. Wright also contributed to this article.