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Telecom Alert - Form 477 Update; Millimeter Wave Auction Update; DoT & Commerce Announce Over $109 Million in NG911 Grants; FirstNet Approves $82.1 Million Operations Budget for FY 2020; $10 Million Rural Broadband Expansion in MD-Vol. XVI, Issue 34

Form 477 Data Updates

At its August Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the collection of broadband deployment data (Vol. XVI, Issue 28).  The Report and Order establishes the “Digital Opportunity Data Collection,” which requires fixed service providers to submit geospatial broadband coverage maps, and directs USAC to create an online portal to collect public input on the accuracy of such data.  It also makes changes to the Form 477 to reduce reporting burdens and incorporate new technologies.  The Second FNPRM generally seeks comment on how to improve the precision, accuracy, and reliability of the data collected.  

Millimeter Wave Auction Updates

The Commission issued a Public Notice last week announcing that the maximum number of generic 100 MHz license blocks in the Upper 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands in each Partial Economic Area (PEA) will be available in Auction 103 (Vol. XVI, Issue 28).  There will be 24 blocks available in category M/N and 10 blocks available in category P.  Category M/N contains 10 blocks in the Upper 37 GHz band and 14 blocks in the 39 GHz band.  Category P consists of 10 blocks in the 47.2-48.2 GHz band.  All 39 GHz incumbents committed to relinquishing their licenses, and none filed a request for waiver.  

DoT and Commerce Announce Over $109 Million in NG911 Grants

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Commerce awarded more than $100 million in grants to 34 states and two tribal nations as part of the federal 911 Grant Program.  The Grant Program assists 911 call centers in upgrading to Next Generation 911 (NG911) capabilities by funding basic improvements such as digital and IP network capabilities and advanced mapping systems.  All States, the District of Columbia, territories, and tribal nations were eligible to apply for grants by submitting a state 911 plan and project budget, designating a 911 coordinator, and certifying that they did not use funds designated for 911 systems for other purposes in the past 180 days. 

FirstNet Approves $82.1 Million Operations Budget for FY 2020

On August 15, FirstNet approved Resolution 101, which distributes its almost $310 million in fiscal year 2020 resources to fund operations, reinvestment, and a reserve set aside.  FirstNet will allocate about $82 million for its operations, $145 million to reinvestment activities, and a little over $1 million to increase its reserve funding to a total of $82 million.  Its total FY 2020 resources are derived from a $120 million payment from AT&T, $143.3 million in brought-forward balances, and $46 million from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.  

$10 Million Rural Broadband Expansion in Maryland

Last week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) issued a Press Release announcing the availability of $9.9 million in funding for the first step of a five-year plan to provide 225,000 Marylanders in rural communities with internet access.  The Office of Rural Broadband, which was created by executive order in 2017, will oversee the implementation of the five-year $100 million initiative.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 238

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