Telecom Alert - CBRS Long Form Applications Accepted; RDOF Phase I Closed; $64,000 Fine for NORS Violations; 2021 Urban Survey Benchmarks; NG911 Legislation Not Likely Until Next Congress; Simington Nomination Moves Forward - Vol. XVII, Issue 49
CBRS Long Form Applications Accepted for Filing
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week announcing the first batch of long form applications in the CBRS Auction (Auction 105) that are accepted for filing (Vol. XVII, Issue 36). While these applications are initially deemed acceptable, the FCC may return or dismiss the applications if they are found to be defective or not in conformance with Commission rules. Petitions to deny the applications are due by December 14, 2020. Oppositions to petitions to deny are due by December 21, 2020 and replies to oppositions are due by December 29, 2020.
RDOF Auction Phase I Closes
The FCC issued a Public Notice on December 7 announcing that bidding in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction concluded on November 25, 2020. There were 180 winning bidders, with the 10-year support amount totaling $9.23 billion and covering over 5.2 million locations in 49 states and one territory. Winning bidders must submit a post-auction application for support (Form 683) by January 29, 2021, and those that wish to assign some or all of their winning bids must do so via the Divide Winning Bids process by December 22, 2020.
Logix Fined $64,000 for Network Outage Reporting Violations
The FCC entered into a Consent Decree with Logix Communications, LP (d/b/a Logix Fiber Networks) last week for violating the Commission’s rules on reporting network outages. Under FCC rules, wireline communications providers must file reports in the Network Outage Reports System (NORS) when network outages exceed specified thresholds. The FCC issued a Letter of Inquiry to Logix in May 2020 regarding a network outage that occurred in January 2020. Specifically, Logix failed to timely file its required Notification, Initial Report, and Final Report in connection with the outage. Under the Consent Decree, Logix agrees to pay a civil penalty of $64,000 and implement a three-year compliance plan to ensure future compliance with Commission rules.
2021 Urban Rate Survey Benchmark Results
Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the 2021 reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and broadband services for eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that are subject to broadband public interest obligations. Recipients of high-cost and/or Connect America Fund support that are subject to broadband performance obligations are required to offer broadband service at rates that are at or below the relevant reasonable comparability benchmark. The broadband benchmarks vary depending on the download and upload bandwidths and monthly usage allowance, which is set at 350 GB. The 2021 urban average monthly rate is $33.73, making the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services $54.75. Each ETC must certify by July 1, 2021 that the pricing of its basic residential voice services does not exceed $54.75.
NG911 Legislation Not Likely Until Next Congress
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International held its Virtual Emerging Technology Forum last week, where public safety advocates noted that legislation providing funding for the deployment of NG911 systems is unlikely to pass Congress during this month’s lame-duck session. In July, the House passed the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which would authorize $12 billion for NG911 deployment. The Public Safety Next Generation 911 Coalition has also proposed draft legislation that would authorize $15 billion for NG911 services between 2021 and 2027 and establish an advisory board of public safety representatives and a nationwide NG911 security operations center within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While public safety leaders do not believe that any such legislation will pass before the end of the current Congressional session, they are hopeful that action will take place in the next session.
Senate Commerce Committee Forwards Simington Nomination
At an executive session last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted to favorably report the nomination of Nathan Simington to fill the seat currently occupied by FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly President Trump withdrew Commissioner O’Reilly’s nomination for another term as Commissioner in August (Vol. XVII, Issue 32), which could result in two open seats at the Commission following Chairman Pai’s announcement that he is stepping down in January (Vol. XVII, Issue 48). The Commerce Committee approved Simington’s nomination along party lines by a vote of 14-12. If Mr. Simington is confirmed by the Senate, the FCC will have two Democratic and two Republican Commissioners on Inauguration Day. Please see our recent blog post for an in depth look at FCC actions during the transition to a new White House administration.