Telecom Alert—Vertical Location Accuracy Requirements; Accelerating RDOF Buildouts; Broadband Mapping; Unauthorized Assignment and Transfer Enforcement; $100B Broadband Bill Vol. XVII, Issue 26
Vertical Location Accuracy Requirements Report and Order
At the FCC’s July 16 Open Meeting, the Commission will consider a Sixth Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration, which seeks to affirm the April 3, 2021 and April 3, 2023 z-axis (vertical) location accuracy requirements for nationwide wireless providers (Vol. XVII, Issue 25). The R&O and Order on Reconsideration will also allow wireless providers to deploy technology that focuses on multi-story buildings and handset-based solutions that meet the z-axis metric, and require nationwide providers to deploy z-axis technology nationwide by April 3, 2025. Wireless providers will be required to provide dispatchable locations with wireless 911 calls beginning January 6, 2022, when it is technically feasible to do so.
Senate Bill Aims to Accelerate RDOF Buildouts
Last week U.S. Sens. Wicker (R-Miss.), Capito (R-W.V.), and Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Accelerating Broadband Connectivity (ABC) Act of 2020, which would authorize a $6 billion fund to be used by the FCC following the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction to incentivize winning bidders to complete their buildout obligations on an accelerated timeline. The bill would also require service providers to meet a series of accelerated milestones for their RDOF deployments. A House bill introduced by Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) earlier this month seeks a similar goal of expediting allocation of RDOF funds to bidders with “shovel-ready” broadband projects (Vol. XVII, Issue 22).
The Commission will consider a Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its next Open Meeting scheduled for July 16 to develop new broadband maps and implement provisions of the Broadband DATA Act. The Second Report and Order seeks to adopt reporting and disclosure requirements for fixed and mobile broadband availability and quality of service; require providers to submit standardized propagation maps; and establish a common dataset of broadband-serviceable locations, among other provisions. The Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on additional processes for verifying broadband availability and proposes to allow consumers and other parties to challenge the accuracy of the maps.
$240K Fine for Unauthorized Assignment and Transfer of Control
Last week the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau released an Order announcing that it had entered into a Consent Decree to resolve the investigation of an unauthorized transfer of control and assignment of FCC licenses. The licensee, a large industrial company, agreed to pay a $240,000 civil penalty and implement a compliance plan for failure to report a felony on 200 separate applications filed since 2001, and its participation in unauthorized transfers of control and assignments in connection with the transfer of business entities holding various FCC licenses.
$100B Broadband Infrastructure Bill
On June 22, House Democrats released the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which includes $100 billion to “promote competition for broadband internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities, prioritizing those with persistent poverty.” The bill seeks to establish a broadband benefit program that entitles households with qualifying members to a subsidy toward the price of Internet service, and appropriates $24 million to the FCC to collect data and generate broadband availability maps. In addition, the bill appropriates $80 billion to fund competitive bidding systems to build broadband infrastructure in unserved areas with low-tier or mid-tier service, and prohibits state governments from enforcing laws or regulations that inhibit local governments, public-private partnerships, and cooperatives from delivering broadband service.