Telecom Alert: Letter Urges USF Reform; MTE Competition R&O; $100K USF Penalty Proposed; Spectrum Coordination Initiative [Vol. XIX, Issue 8]
Letter Urges USF Reform
Last week, a group of 332 public interest groups, communications companies, trade associations, and other industry organizations filed a letter with the FCC urging it to expand the services that pay into the Universal Service Fund (“USF”). Specifically, the letter asks the FCC to include broadband internet access services (“BIAS”) revenue to the contribution base. The groups stress that the current funding revenues are not sustainable and have declined by over 60% in the past twenty years.
MTE Competition Report and Order
The FCC released a Report and Order last week adopting rules to promote competition and increase choice for broadband services for people living and working in multiple tenant environments (“MTEs”) (Vol. XIX, Issue 4). The new rules (1) prohibit service providers from entering into graduated revenue sharing agreements or exclusive revenue-sharing agreements with a building owner; (2) require providers to disclose to tenants in plain language the existence of exclusive marketing arrangements they have with building owners; and (3) clarify that existing rules prohibit sale-and-leaseback arrangements.
$100,000 Penalty Proposed for USF Worksheet Violations
Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) against IK Communications, Inc. and IK Communications Corp., d/b/a Amantel (collectively “IK Communications”), for allegedly willfully and repeatedly failing to file its annual telecommunications reporting worksheet. According to the NAL, IK Communications failed repeatedly to file a total of six Telecommunications Reporting Worksheets between April 1, 2016, and April 1, 2021. IK Communications did not respond to a Letter of Inquiry that the FCC issued. The Commission proposes a $100,000 penalty for these apparent violations.
FCC, NTIA Spectrum Coordination Initiative
The FCC issued a News Release last week announcing a new initiative alongside the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) to improve U.S. government coordination on spectrum management. The Spectrum Coordination Initiative aims to improve the two agencies’ ability to address gaps in governmental coordination through information sharing and new decision-making processes. FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel and NTIA Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson have already committed to reinstating high-level meetings between the agencies’ leadership teams, renewing efforts to develop a national spectrum strategy, and revamping the technical collaboration between agencies and industry.