Telecom Alert: Emergency Connectivity Fund First Round Funding; 2.5 GHz Mutual Exclusivity Resolution; MTE NPRM Comment Deadlines; Senators Back Rosenworcel as Permanent Chairwoman [Vol. XVIII, Issue 39]
Emergency Connectivity Fund First Round Funding
Last week, the FCC announced it is committing more than $1.2 Billion for 3,020 schools, 260 libraries, and 24 consortia that applied for support from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (Vol. XVIII, Issue 27). Approximately $1.17 billion in funding will support schools, $23.97 million will support libraries, and $12.03 million will support consortia of schools and libraries. The Commission continues to review applications from the first application filing window and will announce future funding commitments in the coming weeks. A second application filing window will open on September 28 and close on October 13.
2.5 GHz Mutual Exclusivity Resolution
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week urging 2.5 GHz band rural tribal priority window applicants to resolve mutual exclusivity issues (Vol. XVIII, Issue 20). Mutual exclusivity occurs when more than one application requests some amount of overlapping geographic area, spectrum, or both, no matter how minimal the overlap. Mutually exclusive applications cannot be processed under the Commission’s normal application review process unless the overlap is eliminated, so the Commission encourages tribal entities with pending applications to take voluntary steps to remedy any overlaps. The Bureau also announced that an additional 20 applications have been accepted for filing, with a total of 270 licenses granted to Tribes or Tribally-controlled entities to date.
MTE NPRM Comment Deadlines
The FCC published a notice in the Federal Register last week announcing the comment and reply comment deadlines for the Public Notice (Vol. XVIII, Issue 37) seeking to refresh the record on a 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on improving broadband access to multiple tenant environments (“MTEs”). The FCC invites parties to “update the record” on issues “including but not limited to (1) revenue sharing agreements; (2) exclusive wiring arrangements, including sale-and-leaseback arrangements; and (3) exclusive marketing arrangements.” Comments and reply comments are due by October 21, 2021, and November 4, 2021, respectively.
Senators Back Rosenworcel as Permanent Chairwoman
A group of 25 senators published letter to President Joseph Biden last week urging the President to appoint Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to a full term as Commissioner and to designate her the permanent Chairwoman. Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s term expired last year, though she is able to serve through the end of the current Congressional term and would have to step down if she is not reconfirmed at that point. If that occurred and no other Democrat was confirmed prior, Republicans would have a 2-1 majority with Commissioner Geoffrey Starks as acting Chairman.
Co-authors: Jason P. Chun, Timothy A. Doughty, C. Douglas Jarrett, Gregory E. Kunkle, Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall and Kathleen Slattery Thompson