Telecom Alert: February 13, 2017 – FCC Seeks Comment on TCPA Petition for Rulemaking; Enforcement Bureau Update; Real-Time Text Rules Take Effect February 22; Incentive Auction Forward Bidding Comes to Close; FCC Retracts Digital Infrastructure,
FCC Seeks Comment on TCPA Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling
The FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling regarding what constitutes "prior express consent" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Comments are due by March 10 and Reply Comments by March 27.
Chairman Pai Announces Update of Enforcement Bureau Procedures
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced last week that the Enforcement Bureau no longer has the authority to enter into consent decrees without the approval of the full Commission. The announcement of the new procedure stated the process is effective immediately. The Enforcement Bureau has already circulated a consent decree among the Commissioners.
Real-Time Text Rules Take Effect February 22
The FCC issued a Public Notice finalizing the adoption of a Report and Order that would amend the Commission's rules to allow the use of real-time text (RTT) over wireless IP networks, rather than teletypewriter technology (TTY). The rule changes become effective thirty days after its publication to the Federal Register, Thursday, Feb. 22. Using RTT, individuals will be able to send messages as they are being typed- without having to hit the "send" key - and messages can be read and received in real time.
Incentive Auction Forward Bidding Comes to Close
Last week, clock phase bidding in the incentive auction ended. The forward auction clock phase generated $19.6 billion in winning bids on 84 MHz of spectrum. According to an FCC blog post by the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force, the incentive auction will now proceed to the assignment phase in which winning bidders have the opportunity to bid on frequency-specific licenses. The post stated that a Public Notice will be released to announce the schedule for the assignment phase.
FCC Retracts Digital Infrastructure White Paper
The FCC retracted the White Paper from the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis "Improving the Nation's Digital Infrastructure." It was released on January 19, one day before Inauguration Day and the elevation to Chairman of Commissioner Pai, so it may have regarded as among so-called "midnight" actions at the end of former Chairman Wheeler's tenure which were criticized by the Republican Commissioners at the time.