Telecom Alert - PLMR Spectrum Update; Net Neutrality Litigation; 2019 E-Rate Filing Window Open; Real-Time Text Waiver; Congress Reintroduces Robocall Bill; Spectrum Frontiers Auction Update - Vol. XVI, Issue 3
PLMR Spectrum Update
In October 2018, the FCC adopted a Report and Order updating its policies regarding the 800 MHz band and other private land mobile radio (PLMR) spectrum. Following publication in the Federal Register, the new rules became effective on December 27, 2018 (Vol XV, Issue 49). However, the new interstitial 800 MHz channels will not be available until an announcement by the FCC and the PLMR Central Station Alarm channels will not be available for licensing until the rules have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Approval by OMB is currently pending.
Net Neutrality Litigation to Continue During Shutdown
On January 17, the D.C. Circuit denied the FCC’s request to delay oral arguments in the case seeking review of the FCC’s 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (Vol. XV, Issue 14). Despite the fact that several federal government agencies have been shut down for the last month, the federal judiciary has continued to operate. Accordingly, oral arguments will proceed as planned on February 1.
2019 E-Rate Filing Window Open
Under the E-rate Program, schools and libraries (“Applicants”) must request funding for Funding Year (FY) 2019 during the Filing Window that extends from January 16 until March 27. Applicants implement a formal bidding process by posting an FCC Form 470 in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) for at least 28 days. Applicants must choose the most cost-effective bids. Applicants must then file an FCC Form 471 in the EPC providing USAC essential information on the winning bid and the basis for the applicant’s “discount” (the percentage that USAC will contribute toward the service costs). For FY 2019, applicants have until February 27 to post their FCC Forms 470 in order to submit a certified FCC Form 471 within the FY 2019 Filing Window that closes on March 27 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
FCC Seeks Comment on General Motors Petition to Waive Real-Time Text Requirements
The FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau is seeking comment on a petition filed by General Motors Holding LLC (GM) for a partial waiver of certain minimum functionality requirements for real-time text (RTT) to be used in GM’s autonomous-vehicle ride-hailing service. Specifically, GM plans to provide an RTT customer-support application for its services. Because the non-interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service can be used only to contact customer support, GM argued that such application need not support RTT-RTT interoperability; RTT-TTY interoperability; transmission and receipt of RTT communications to and from any 911 public safety answering point; and simultaneous voice and text communications.
Congress Reintroduces Bill Targeting Robocalls
Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced an updated version of their Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, initially introduced in November 2018, to give regulators more time to find scammers, increase civil forfeiture penalties, and promote call authentication and blocking. In November 2018, the FCC called upon network voice providers to trace illegal robocalls originating on or passing through their networks (Vol. XV, Issue 46).
Spectrum Frontiers Auction Update
As of Friday evening, the FCC had completed 152 rounds in Auction 101 (licenses in the 27.5-28.35 GHz band). 2,961 county-sized licenses with provisionally winning bids (PWBs) have generated over $700 million. 111 licenses remain to be auctioned.