Telecom Alert - Net Neutrality Bill Passes House; California Supreme Court Upholds Aesthetic Guidelines; Internet Exchange Act; Spectrum Auction Update; 900 MHz NPRM Comment Date Correction - Vol. XVI, Issue 15
Net Neutrality Bill Passes House
In a 232-190 vote, the Democratic-led House passed the Save the Internet Act of 2019 (H.R. 1644) on April 10 to restore the Obama-era net neutrality regulations by repealing the FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (Vol. XVI, Issue 10). Still, the Act, which prevents Internet providers from blocking access to particular sites, throttling traffic and engaging in paid prioritization, faces long odds in the Republican-controlled Senate. Earlier last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement expressing the Administration’s strong opposition to the bill.
California Supreme Court Upholds Aesthetic Guidelines
On April 4, the Supreme Court of California upheld a San Francisco city ordinance that imposes permitting requirements on wireless telephone service companies installing equipment in public rights-of-way, denying a challenge by T-Mobile West LLC. In order to obtain some of the permits, companies must adhere to the city’s established aesthetic guidelines. In its appeal, T-Mobile West argued that the ordinance is either preempted by or in violation of state law. The Court’s decision reflects a broad interpretation of the State statutes governing municipalities’ inherent police powers to exercise reasonable land use control.
Bill to Support Internet Exchanges
Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the bipartisan Internet Exchange (IX) Act (S. 1166) on April 11 to strengthen Internet access in rural and other underserved areas. Specifically, the Act authorizes the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to administer a grant program that will establish or expand IX facilities and allows eligible E-rate and Telehealth program recipients to use available support to fund connections to and maintenance of points of presence at IX facilities.
Spectrum Auction Update
The FCC adopted a Public Notice which seeks comment on the proposed application and bidding procedures for Auction 103. Auction 103, which covers airwaves in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands, is the nation’s largest spectrum auction in history (Vol. XVI, Issue 12). Through making high frequency millimeter wave spectrum available, the Commission hopes to promote development of advanced spectrum-based services.
900 MHz NPRM Comment Date Correction
On April 3, the FCC published a document in the Federal Register regarding the Commission’s 900 MHz NPRM, which provided incorrect comment due dates (Vol. XVI, Issue 11). The FCC has since corrected that error in a notice published in the Federal Register on April 11. Accordingly, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before June 3 and July 2, respectively.