Telecom Alert: Oregon Utilities Wildfire Mitigation Order; 6 GHz Device Testing Proposal; EAS R&O Adopted; Broadband Grant Tax Bill [Vol. XIX, Issue 40]
Oregon Utilities Wildfire Mitigation Order
To address wildfire risks, the Oregon Public Utility Commission issued an order requiring utilities to inspect communications attachments and provide notices to correct, even on poles they do not own. Utilities may assess a 25% surcharge to remediate violations of Safety Rules not timely corrected, in order to provide “incentives” to communications attachers and because the reallocation of utility staff “can impose real constraints on utilities.”
6 GHz Band Device Testing Proposal
Last week, several entities filed an ex parte letter with the FCC asking the Commission to conduct a week-long test of the University of Michigan’s Wi-Fi 6E network. Earlier this year, the University of Michigan deployed 15,500 Wi-Fi 6E indoor access points throughout its campus, replacing more than 16,000 legacy Wi-Fi access points. The entities urge the Commission to work with the University to gather data on the network so that accurate models of Wi-Fi 6E products based on current operations can be used to analyze the interference environment in the 6 GHz band.
Emergency Alert System R&O Adopted
The FCC adopted a Report and Order at its Open Meeting last week updating its rules surrounding the Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) to make alert messages more informative and easier for the public to understand (Vol. XIX, Issue 37). Specifically, the Commission now requires EAS participants to transmit alerts in the IP-based Common Alerting Protocol (“CAP”) format, as opposed to the legacy version of alerts, when available. It also revised the prescribed text that participants must use to identify certain alerts be eliminating technical jargon and replacing it with plain language terms.
Broadband Grant Tax Bill Introduced
Last week, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would exempt broadband grants from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan from becoming taxable income. Currently, grants awarded for broadband deployment are factored into a company’s income and will be subjected to additional taxes due to scheduled changes to the corporate tax code beginning next year. The bill notes several broadband deployment grants that the exemption would apply to, including Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (“BEAD”) grants, State Digital Equity Capacity Grants, and Digital Equity Competitive grants, among others. Please see Keller and Heckman’s original blog post on this issue.