Telecom Alert—Trump Issues EO to Protect PNT Services; 17th Annual 911 Honor Awards; Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Update; Federal Court Approves T-Mobile, Sprint Merger; 911-Legislation Database Now Available—Vol. XVII, Issue 7
Trump Issues EO to Protect PNT Services
President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order last Wednesday that requires federal agencies to develop plans to protect positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services, which support the Global Positioning System (GPS), from disruption and manipulation. The Order describes PNT services as “a largely invisible utility for technology and infrastructure, including the electrical power grid, communications infrastructure and mobile devices, all modes of transportation, precision agriculture, weather forecasting, and emergency response.” The Order directs appropriate agencies, in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce and the private sector, to create profiles of their PNT systems and implement contractual language that includes relevant language from these profiles in all Federal contracts that utilize these systems. Its goal is to foster the responsible use of PNT services by critical infrastructure owners and operators.
17th Annual 911 Honor Awards
On February 12, the NG911 Institute held the 17th Annual 911 Honor Awards. Members of Congress, congressional staff, federal agency staff, members of the public safety community, public safety vendors, and members of the general public gathered at the annual reception, where heroes and leaders in the 9-1-1 field are recognized and celebrated. FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel’s Keynote remarks highlighted the importance of the 911 SAVES Act and increased funding for next-generation 911.
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Update
On February 7, the FCC released a draft Public Notice proposing that the $16 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction begin on October 22, 2020 (Vol. XVII, Issue 5). The Public Notice also proposes to seek comment on the appropriate minimum area for bidding in the Phase I auction, using either census block groups or census tracts, as well as the pre- and post-auction application procedures. The Commission will consider the draft RDOF Public Notice at its next Open Meeting scheduled for February 28.
Federal Court Approves T-Mobile, Sprint Merger
Last Tuesday, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger (Vol. XVI, Issue 45). In doing so, Judge Victor Marrero concluded that the merger would likely not hurt competition or consumers. After this ruling and the FCC’s approval Order issued last November, T-Mobile and Sprint must now wait for an official review by a federal judge of their settlement agreement with several states and the Department of Justice. Reportedly, T-Mobile ‘s owner is seeking to reduce its purchase price for Sprint as the value of Sprint’s stock has declined since the deal was signed.
911-Legislation Database Now Available
Last week, the National 911 Program and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released a summary of 2019 key enacted 911 legislation. NCSL has maintained a 911 Legislation Tracking Database since 2012 as a resource for states to compare recently enacted or modified 911 laws from other states. Some key 911 legislation from 2019 includes the implementation of new or increased 911 fees in seven states for subscribers that make prepaid purchases.