Telecom Alert: House Budget Proposes $10B for NG911; Broadband Access to MTEs; EBB Program Eligibility Expanded; Tribal Library E-Rate Eligibility; USF Contribution Factor [Vol. XVIII, Issue 37]
House Budget Proposes $10B for NG911
The House Energy & Commerce Committee released its portion of the Budget Reconciliation Act on August 24, which appropriates $10 billion for Next Generation 911 (“NG911”). The funds are to remain available until September 30, 2026 and be used for equipment and services to implement, operate, and maintain NG911 and to cover associated training costs. The bill also provides an additional $80 million to establish the Next Generation 9-1-1 Cybersecurity Center to coordinate with government officials on cybersecurity guidelines and prevention tactics as well as $20 million in funding to establish a 16-member Public Safety Next Generation 9-1-1 Advisory Board to make recommendations for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
FCC Invites Comment on Competitive Broadband Access to MTEs
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice last week seeking additional comment on a 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding broadband provider access to multiple tenant environments (apartment buildings, commercial properties, etc.). The FCC invites parties to “update the record” on issues “including but not limited to (1) revenue sharing agreements; (2) exclusive wiring arrangements, including sale-and-leaseback arrangements; and (3) exclusive marketing arrangements.”
EBB Program Eligibility Expanded
Last week, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice announcing the expansion of the school years that will be acceptable for eligibility determination purposes for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) Program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 originally approved households that participate in the free and reduced-price school lunch and breakfast programs for either the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school years to participate in the EBB Program. Now, households that can demonstrate participation in the programs for the 2021-2022 school year will also be eligible.
NPRM Proposes Tribal Library E-Rate Eligibility
The FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its Open Meeting on September 30 that proposes amending its E-Rate rules to clarify that Tribal libraries are eligible for support. The E-Rate program defines eligible libraries as those that are eligible for assistance from a State library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act (“LSTA”), for which many Tribal libraries were ineligible. The NPRM proposes clarifying its rules so that Tribal libraries are eligible for support and seeks comment on additional measures to ensure Tribal entities have access to the E-Rate program.
29.1% USF Contribution Factor Proposed
The FCC’s Office of Managing Director announced that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the 4th quarter of 2021 will be 29.1%, absent action from the Commission. The 29.1% assessment on end-user interstate and international telecom service revenues is projected to meet the 4th quarter’s revenue requirement of $2.123 billion for the four original universal service programs (E-Rate, rural health care, high-cost, and Lifeline) and the Connected Care pilot program.