Telecom Alert - Final Internet Freedom Rule Published; Public Safety Waiver Request Comment Deadline; Spectrum Horizons; States Granted Discretionary Spending on Infrastructure; Upcoming Events - Vol. XV, Issue 9
Final Internet Freedom Rule Published
On Feb 22, 2018, the Restoring Internet Freedom Final Rule was published in the Federal Register, making the effective date April 23, 2018. As we previously reported (Vol. XV, Issue 2), the rule effectively repeals the 2015 Open Internet Order. In place, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order provides a comprehensive “transparency rule,” requiring broadband providers to disclose any blocking, throttling or paid prioritization; full disclosure of the ISPs’ privacy policies; and confirms the role of the Federal Trade Commission on enforcement and privacy matters.
Public Safety Waiver Request Comment Deadline
On Jan 12, 2018, Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend, LLC filed an application to license three UHF Public Safety Radio Pool channels in Minnesota, seeking a waiver of eligibility requirements. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment regarding the waiver request. Flint Hills is a large oil refinery with two sites located in Minnesota. The refinery proposes three 450-470 MHz band Public Safety Pool channels at one location to ensure reliable coverage for purposes of plant safety and to relieve local fire departments from handling fire related issues at the refinery by maintaining their own fire crew. Comments are due by March 16, 2018 and Reply Comments are due by April 2, 2018.
Last week, the Commission held its February Open Meeting and took several actions including the Spectrum Horizons Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). This item proposes expanding access to spectrum above 95 GHz, which currently has no licensing rules and is often considered the “outermost horizon” of useable spectrum. The Commission’s goal is to enable innovators and entrepreneurs to develop technology that can utilize this spectrum. The NPRM seeks comment on:
- adopting rules for fixed point-to-point use of up to 102.2 GHz of spectrum that would be similar to the existing 70/80/90 GHz rules
- making up to 15.2 GHz of spectrum available for unlicensed use based on the rule for unlicensed use in the 57-71 GHz band
- creating a new category of experimental licenses for the 95 GHz to 3 THz range
The final text of the NPRM has not yet been released.
States Granted Discretionary Spending on Infrastructure
The White House announced in a press release that Governors will have discretion to spend up to 100 percent of Federal funds received under the $50 billion allocated to states under the administration’s Rural Infrastructure Program. Instead of setting aside funds for specific projects, Governors can prioritize and distribute funds based on their state’s greatest needs. Currently, the program divides $40 billion to states based on the amount of rural area in each state and $10 billion will be allocated through a competitive process for Rural Performance Grants.