Telecom Alert: Wireless Spectrum Items; Cyber Incident Reporting Act of 2021; Shielding PSAPs from Robocalls; Emergency Connectivity Fund Filing Window [Vol. XVIII, Issue 40]
FCC Opens Numerous Wireless Spectrum Items
Last week the FCC released several wireless spectrum related items. These included a Public Notice commencing a process for authorizing Automated Frequency Coordination Systems to govern the operation of unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz) and a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on the spectrum requirements of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The Commission also vacated its new 4.9 GHz band rules, which had just been adopted last year, adopting instead an Eighth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on new ways to promote access to the band (the text of the FNPRM is not yet available).
Cyber Incident Reporting Act of 2021
On September 28, Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the Cyber Incident Reporting Act of 2021, which would establish a Cyber Incident Review Office (“CIR Office”) within the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) and require critical infrastructure owners and operators to report cybersecurity incidents to the CIR Office. The bill would require covered entities to report a cyber incident to the Director of the CIR Office no later than 72 hours after the entity reasonably believes that incident occurred and report any ransom payments made within 24 hours. The CIR Office would review and analyze reports related to cybersecurity incidents and assess the effectiveness of security controls, among other things.
Shielding PSAPs from Robocalls
The FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last week seeking comment on proposals to require voice service providers to block robocalls made to 911 call center telephone numbers listed on a Public Safety Answering Point (“PSAP”) Do-Not-Call registry. The Commission adopted rules in 2012 establishing processes for PSAPs to add numbers to the registry and for granting and tracking access to autodialer operators, but members of the public safety community expressed security concerns about the registry. The FCC is now gathering updated information on how best to protect 911 call centers from disruptive robocalls in a manner that minimizes potential security risks of making registered 911 call center numbers available to those claiming to be autodialer operators.
Emergency Connectivity Fund Filing Window
Last week, the FCC announced that the second application filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (Vol. XVIII, Issue 39) opened on September 28. Until October 13, eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services received or delivered between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. The funding can be used to purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections to serve unmet needs for off-premises use. The FCC committed over $1.2 billion in the first wave of funding.