Telecom Alert - Senate Hearing on FCC Nominations; FCC Urges Adoption of Outage Best Practices; Mid-Band Notice of Inquiry; FirstNet Update
Senate Hearing on FCC Nominations
The Senate Commerce Committee will hold an FCC Nomination Hearing on July 19. The hearing will cover the reappointments of Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, whose term expired earlier this year, as well as the appointment of Brendan Carr as the third Republican Commissioner. Brendan Carr currently serves as the FCC’s General Counsel.
FCC Urges Adoption of Outage Best Practices
Last week, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice encouraging service providers to implement measures to prevent network outages. The Bureau studied submissions to the Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS), and determined that many major service outages have been caused by minor changes in network management systems. The Bureau further determined that many of these “sunny day” outages could have been prevented if service providers had implemented industry best practices recommended by the Commission’s Communications Security Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) II.
Mid-Band Notice of Inquiry
Last week, the Commission opened Docket No. 17-183, entitled “Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-Band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz,” and released a draft Notice of Inquiry that focuses on how this mid-band spectrum can be used for wireless broadband. The NOI specifically asks about the 3.7-4.2 GHz; 5.925-6.425 GHz; and 6.425-7.125 GHz bands. Earlier in the week, Commissioner O’Rielly published a blog post supporting the exploration of these bands and encouraging an inquiry into how these bands can be used more efficiently.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced last week that Virginia will be opting-in to the FirstNet/AT&T plan. Virginia was the first state to opt-in, but was quickly followed by three states: Wyoming, Arkansas, and Kentucky. AT&T has agreed to provide public safety users in opt-in states immediate prioritized access to AT&T’s LTE network. AT&T officials further stated that deployment of Band 14 Spectrum could begin this year. However, Band 14 may not be available in all parts of Rural America under the AT&T/FirstNet coverage plan. On July 20, the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet will hold “An Update on FirstNet” hearing.