Telecom Alert - October 1, 2018: FAA Reauthorization; FCC Approves Small Cell Order; NPRM Implementing Kari's Law and RAY BAUM's Act; Two-Way Radio Enforcement Advisory; Toll Free Number Auction NPRM
FAA Bill Would Resolve Rural Tower Marking Issues
Last week, the House passed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill (H.R. 302) that would grant relief from enhanced tower marking requirements imposed by the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. Under the 2016 legislation, Congress would have required the FAA to promulgate rules mandating that many towers located in rural areas between 50 and 200 feet in height be marked and lit. H.R. 302 removes many towers from the marking and lighting requirements, including towers not located or immediately adjacent to agricultural land. On Friday, the Senate passed a one-week extension of the current authorization to allow time to consider H.R. 302.
FCC Approves Small Cell Order
Last week, the FCC adopted its controversial Small Cell Order which sets nationwide standards under Sections 332(c)(7) and 253 of the Communications Act for the installation of “Small Wireless Facilities” (small cells) in public rights of way (ROW) and the collocation of small cells on state and municipal streetlight poles, utility poles and other facilities in the public ROW. The decision limits the ability of state and local governments to assess charges for processing small cell applications and to set annual rent for small cell facilities. The Order also establishes “shot clocks” for state and local governments to process small cell applications.
FCC Proposes Rules to Implement Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act
Last week, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement Kari’s Law, which requires multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) to enable users to dial 911 directly without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside. The NPRM proposes regulations intended to clarify the obligations placed on operators of MLTS, which include many private companies and government agencies. The NPRM also requests comment on proposed rules that would ensure a “dispatchable location” is conveyed to public safety answering points (PSAPs) regardless of the technological platform used, as required by RAY BAUM’S Act.
FCC Two-Way Radio Enforcement Advisory
Last week, the Commission issued an Enforcement Advisory emphasizing that two-way VHF and UHF radios must comply with FCC rules. The Advisory addresses the high incidence of mobile radios being marketed in the U.S. that do not comply with the FCC’s technical requirements. The agency clarified that many of these radios are illegal (with one notable exception being radios operating only in amateur radio bands). Manufacturing, marketing, or operating a non-compliant radio is a violation of the Commission’s rules. Violators could be subject to fines up to $19,639 per day of marketing violations and up to $147,290 for an ongoing violation.
FCC Modernizing Toll Free Number Distribution via Auction Experiment
Last week, the Commission adopted an Order to experiment with the use of competitive bidding to assign toll free numbers. Historically, toll free numbers were assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The initial auction will be limited to 17,000 numbers in the “833” toll free block. Some numbers will be reserved for public health and safety purposes. A single-round, sealed bid process will be used.