March 12, 2021
NPRM: Permit FM Booster Stations to Transmit Geo-Targeted Content – Reply Comments are due in response to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with regard to possible changes to the booster station rules that could enable FM broadcasters to use FM booster stations to transmit geo-targeted content (e.g. news, weather, and advertisements) independent of the signals of its primary station within different portions of the primary station’s protected service contour for a limited period of time.
March 29, 2021
Targeted Changes to TV White Space Device Rules – Comments due in response to the FCC’s Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopting targeted changes to the Part 15 (Radio frequency devices) white space devices rules in the TV bands (channels 2-35). The objective is to provide improved broadband coverage and applications associated with the Internet of Things (“IoT”) for the benefit of consumers in rural and underserved areas.
April 1, 2021
Radio License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Texas must be filed in Licensing and Management System (“LMS”). These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (“EEO”), also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees. Under the new public notice rules, radio stations filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks. Once complete, a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, must be posted to the Online Public Inspection File (“OPIF”).
Television License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for television stations located in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee must be filed in LMS. These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast EEO Program Report, also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees. Under the new public notice rules, radio stations filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks. Once complete, a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, must be posted to the OPIF within seven days.
EEO Public File Reports – All radio and television station employment units with five or more full-time employees and located in Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas must place EEO Public File Reports in their OPIFs. For all stations with websites, the report must be posted there as well. Per announced FCC policy, the reporting period may end ten days before the report is due, and the reporting period for the next year will begin on the following day.
April 10, 2021
Issues/Programs Lists – For all commercial and noncommercial radio, television, and Class A television stations, listings of each station’s most significant treatment of community issues during the first quarter of 2021 must be placed in the station’s online public inspection file. The lists should include brief narratives describing the issues covered and the programs which provided the coverage, with information concerning the time, date, duration, and title of each program with a brief description of the program.
Class A Television Stations Continuing Eligibility Documentation – The Commission requires that all Class A Television Stations maintain in their online public inspection files documentation sufficient to demonstrate that the station is continuing to meet the eligibility requirements of broadcasting at least 18 hours per day and broadcasting an average of at least three hours per week of locally produced programming. While the Commission has given no guidance as to what this documentation must include or when it must be added to the public file, we believe that a quarterly certification which states that the station continues to broadcast at least 18 hours per day, that it broadcasts on average at least three hours per week of locally produced programming, and lists the titles of such locally produced programs should be sufficient.
April 26, 2021
Targeted Changes to TV White Space Device Rules – Reply Comments due in response to the Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopting targeted changes to the Part 15 white space devices rules in the TV bands for the purpose of providing improved broadband coverage and applications associated with the IoT in rural and underserved areas.
March 1, 2021
FCC Form 477 – This form is filed online biannually on March 1 and September 1. The Commission collects a variety of information about broadband deployment and wireless and wired telephone service on Form 477. Broadly speaking, the following providers must fill Form 477: 1) facilities-based providers of broadband connections to end users, 2) providers of wired or fixed wireless local exchange telephone service, 3) providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) service; and 4) facilities-based providers of mobile telephony (mobile voice) services. If you have any questions about whether your company must file Form 477 or what information your company is required to submit in the filing, you should contact your telecommunications counsel.
April 1, 2021
Form 499-A – The annual Form 499 filing, Form 499-A, must be filed by telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers Carriers report their prior year’s annual revenues using the form, and the FCC uses that information to reconcile, or true-up, a carrier’s Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions over the past year based on the carriers quarterly Form 499-Q revenue projections. Carriers that overpaid their contributions will receive a credit, and Universal Service Administration Company (“USAC”) will bill carriers that underpaid their USF contributions.
Rate of Return Reporting FCC Form 492 – Local exchange carriers (“LECs”) groups of affiliated carriers must file FCC Form 492 within three months of the end of each calendar year. Each LEC or group of affiliated carriers may make corrections to the report within 6 months of the due date for the report. Two copies of the report must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission with an additional copy filed with the Wireline Competition Bureau, Industry Analysis, and Technology Division.
Automated Reporting Management Information System (“ARMIS”) Reporting – Certain incumbent local exchange carriers (“ILECs”) must file ARMIS reports annually by April 1. The Commission has made significant changes to ARMIS reporting over the years to reduce the reporting burden. That said, carriers subject to the reporting thresholds are still required to report some ARMIS information, including pole attachment reporting. Information subject to ARMIS reporting also may vary depending on whether a carrier is a mid-size or large ILEC or a mandatory price-cap, elective price-cap, or non-price-cap ILEC. If you have any questions about the FCC’s changes to ARMIS reporting, you should contact experienced telecommunications counsel.
Section 43.21(c) Letter – Common carriers with operating revenue over the indexed revenue threshold must file a letter with the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau showing the carriers operating revenues for the prior year and the value of its total communications plant at the end of the year. The indexed revenue threshold is defined in Section 32.9000 of the Commission’s rules. The threshold is an inflation-adjusted amount calculated based on the annual revenue of $100 million in 1992.
Recordkeeping Compliance Certification and Contact Information Registration (“RCCCI”) – Each year, equipment manufacturers and service providers (including traditional telephone providers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) providers, and Advanced Communications Services, such as non-interconnected VoIP, electronic messaging, and interoperable video conferencing providers) must certify compliance with the FCC’s recordkeeping rules related to accessibility of their service by individuals with disabilities. Section 14.31(a) of the FCC’s rules requires equipment manufacturers and service providers to maintain certain records related to making telecommunications services accessible to individuals with disabilities. The RCCCI certification requires manufacturers and service providers to certify that they have procedures in place to meet those recordkeeping requirements. The certification is filed online and must be signed by an officer of each company under penalty of perjury.
May 1, 2021 (Due May 3 because May 1 falls on a Saturday)
Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (FCC Form 499-Q) – FCC rules require telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers to file quarterly revenue statements reporting historical revenue for the prior quarter and projecting revenue for the next quarter. The projected revenue is used to calculate contributions to the Universal Service Fund (“USF”) for high cost, rural, insular and tribal areas as well as to support telecommunications services for schools, libraries, and rural health care providers. USF assessments are billed monthly.
Geographic Rate Averaging Certification – Non-dominant interstate interexchange providers operating on a detariffed must certify that their service complies with the provider’s geographic rate average and rate integration obligations. The certification is due annually by May 1 and must be signed by an officer of the company under oath. Certifications should be sent to the FCC’s Office of the Secretary, directed to the attention of:
Office of the Secretary
Attn: Chief, Pricing Policy Division,
45 L Street NE
Washington , DC 20002
May 15, 2021 (Due May 17 because may 15 falls on a Saturday)
Quarterly Percentage of Internet Usage (PIU) Certification – USF prepaid calling card providers must file a certification stating that it is making the required USF contributions. The certification must be signed by an officer of the company under penalty of perjury and can be filed electronically using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The Quarterly PIU Certification due May 15, 2021 will cover the First Quarter of 2021 (January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021).