Telecom Alert - Forms 499-A, 499-Q Released; NG911 NEAD Platform Decommissioned; FCC Seeks Record Refresh in Net Neutrality Ruling; T-Mobile, Sprint Amend Merger; Lifeline Eligibility Verifier Launch - Vol. XVII, Issue 8
FCC Releases Forms 499-A and 499-Q
The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing the release of the annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (Form 499-A) and the quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (Form 499-Q) for 2020. Some of the revisions to the forms include an adjustment to the circularity factor and updated instructions reflecting that providers no longer need to file quarterly the traffic studies relied on to report interstate revenues. Instructions for both Form 499-A and 499-Q are included as attachments to the Notice.
Carriers Decommission NG911 NEAD Platform
Representatives of the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) filed a letter with the FCC on February 14 announcing the decommissioning of the database. NEAD was a platform that supported wireless carriers’ provision of dispatchable location information to 911 centers (Vol. XVI, Issue 47). Its goal was to establish a national database of access points that would assist providers to deliver a dispatchable location to help 911 call centers respond to emergencies.
FCC Seeks Record Refresh in Net Neutrality Ruling
The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice last week seeking to refresh the record in the Net Neutrality docket regarding some of the issues remanded back to the FCC by the D.C. Circuit (Vol. XVI, Issue 40). In its ruling on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (Net Neutrality Order), the D.C. Circuit remanded the Net Neutrality Order’s rulings on pole attachments, the Lifeline Program, and public safety. The Commission now seeks to refresh the record on how the changes adopted in the Net Neutrality Order affect each of those issues, including how they might affect the regulation of pole attachments in states subject to federal regulation.
T-Mobile and Sprint Amend Merger Agreement
T-Mobile issued a News Release last Thursday announcing that it, along with Sprint, had amended the merger agreement (Vol. XVII, Issue 7). The revision will give SoftBank a smaller share of the New T-Mobile and give Deutsche Telekom a larger ownership stake in the company. The amendment was added due to Sprint’s declining financials over the past two years. After the deal officially closes and the revision is put in place, Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank will hold roughly 43% and 24% of the fully diluted New T-Mobile shares, respectively.
Lifeline Eligibility Verifier Set to Launch in Five States
The FCC released a Public Notice last week announcing that eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) will be required to use the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) for all new Lifeline enrollments in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin on March 24, 2020. ETCs must cease using legacy eligibility processes for prospective Lifeline subscribers, and annual recertification will also now be conducted through the National Verifier. Beginning on March 24, 2020, consumers in these five states can check their eligibility for Lifeline service directly online.