Telecom Alert—FCC Revises Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Rules; $75,000 Fine for USF Violations; Connected Care Pilot Program; Sprint Fined $200 Million for Lifeline Violations— Vol. XVII, Issue 45
FCC Revises Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Rules
At its October Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Report and Order that streamlines the state and local government review process for modifications to existing wireless infrastructure that involve excavation and deployment beyond existing boundary sites. Under section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012, state and local governments may not deny certain requests to modify existing wireless structures that do not substantially change the physical dimensions of the structure. The new rules provide that excavating or deploying transmission equipment in an area no more than 30 feet beyond existing site boundaries would not disqualify the modification from section 6409(a) treatment.
$75,000 Fine for USF Violations
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against US South Communications (d/b/a US South & IWCOMM) for failing to respond timely to repeated requests from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) for supporting documentation for the service provider’s 2018 and 2019 Telecommunications Reporting Worksheets. The Enforcement Bureau proposes a $75,000 fine against US South. The Enforcement Bureau’s action underscores the obligation of service providers to maintain accurate records underlying reported projected revenues and to provide these records upon request from USAC.
Connected Care Pilot Program Filing Window Open
The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing that the application filing window for the Connected Care Pilot Program opened on Friday, November 6, and will remain open through December 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EST. The Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to support the provision of connected care services. Specifically, the Program will fund 85% of the cost of eligible services and network equipment, which include patient broadband Internet access services, health care provider broadband data connections, and certain network equipment. The Program will not provide funding for end-user devices.
T-Mobile Agrees to $200 Million Fine for Sprint Lifeline Violations
The FCC issued an Order and Consent Decree last week announcing that T-Mobile will pay a $200 million penalty to resolve an enforcement action brought against Sprint for falsely claiming monthly subsidies for approximately 885,000 Lifeline subscribers that were not obtaining the subsidized service. The violations and enforcement action arose prior to T-Mobile’s recent acquisition of Sprint. The penalty is the largest settlement the FCC has ever secured to resolve an investigation.