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Selected New Developments in Broadband – November

Capitol Hill On November 4, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated he is willing to resume negotiations on COVID-19 relief legislation before the end of the year (he had previously indicated no legislation is possible before the end of the year). Whether this would be standalone legislation or part of a necessary government funding package … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts STIR/SHAKEN Rules to Combat Illegal Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission recently released a Report and Order (“Order”) to promote the use of the STIR/SHAKEN framework (which we wrote a useful primer on) in combatting caller ID spoofing. The FCC is giving carriers until June 30, 2021 to implement STIR/SHAKEN. However, if a carrier wants to receive exemption from the Caller ID … Continue Reading

FCC Moves to Add New Fees (and Lower the Cost of Others)

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing the first major overhaul of FCC application fees in 30 years. Licensees (and hopeful licensees) should take heed: while certain fees are proposed to be lowered, many are proposed to increase, some by a substantial amount. Of particular … Continue Reading

Mobile Service Providers Will Need to Provide Z-Axis Location Data

In an Order adopted July 17th, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) took another step in its mission to make the precise location of wireless emergency calls more and more granular, to help emergency responders to determine the location of a caller who is injured or held captive and unable to communicate his or her … Continue Reading

Safe Harbor Order Could Help Carriers Kick Robocalls to the Curb

On July 17, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) released its latest Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Order”) attempting to stop unwanted and illegal robocalls. The Order creates a “safe harbor” (i.e., legal protection from liability) to protect carriers that block calls based on reasonable analytics or other permissible criteria. … Continue Reading

The FCC Designates “988” as a 3-Digit Dialing Code to Reach Suicide Hotline

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted its proposal to establish “988” as a nationwide abbreviated telephone dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis hotline. “988” will replace or supplement the existing 800 number (1-800-273-TALK). The proposal was discussed in our blog post on January 7, 2020.… Continue Reading

FCC Invites Comments on its Attempts to Stop Scam Calls

On May 6, 2020, we wrote about several steps taken by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to deter robocalls, implementing new authority given by Congress last year in the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (“TRACED Act”).  In addition to adopting several new rules to be effective immediately, the FCC invited comments … Continue Reading

FCC Lobs More Fireballs at Robocallers and Spoofers

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has taken several steps in recent years to deter robocalls of all kinds, with some success, but not enough to give us poor ordinary folks the telephone peace and quiet for which we yearn. Last year, Congress passed the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (“TRACED Act”), … Continue Reading

Corrected Comment Deadlines for Regulation of RF Emissions in Higher Frequency Bands

On January 9, 2020, we blogged about a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) decision resolving many of the issues that it had been considering with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. The FCC also invited comments as to whether it should extend its regulation of RF emissions from the present range of … Continue Reading

You May Get Some More Robocalls, Thanks to COVID-19 – But Maybe Not So Much

On March 25, 2020, we blogged that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) had issued a Declaratory Ruling under the Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), that the coronavirus pandemic constitutes an “emergency” which invokes a statutory exception permitting certain kinds of robocalls to be made and texts sent without the consent of the recipient.  Since that date, … Continue Reading

STIR/SHAKEN – Dial Another Day

With the new James Bond film delayed until the end of the year, the FCC has something to tide everyone over: STIR/SHAKEN – the SIP-based caller ID authentication process. Last year, Congress passed the Traced Act, which required the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to require caller ID authentication within 18 months of the Traced Act’s … Continue Reading

You May Get Some More Robocalls, Thanks to COVID-19

I hate them, you hate them, we all hate robocalls with a passion (commonly used four-letter descriptions omitted here). But the Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) had good reason last week to issue a Declaratory Ruling that under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), the coronavirus pandemic constitutes an “emergency” which invokes a statutory exception permitting … Continue Reading

FCC Wants You to Dial 988 Before It’s Too Late: Abbreviated 3-Digit Access to Suicide Help Line Proposed

The Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) has proposed to establish “988” as a nationwide abbreviated telephone dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis hotline. An 800 number (1-800-273-TALK) already universally connects to suicide counselors, but people facing a suicide crisis might not remember such a long number. The same hotline will … Continue Reading

Robocall Roundup: New Robocall Act Goes to the Senate

Amidst the polarization in Washington, there remains one thing nearly everyone agrees on; no one likes robocalls. Last month, the House passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) to take several steps to curb robocallers and adopts stiffer penalties for robocallers (particularly robocallers who intentionally violate the … Continue Reading

Possible Ramifications for TCPA After FCC Reclassification of Text Messages

On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) three Republican Commissioners were in a self-congratulatory mood for standing with consumers against unwanted robotexts by classifying text messaging as a Title I service, but did the Commission’s classification decision really mark a major TCPA victory for consumers? Probably not. As Sekoia Rogers detailed on … Continue Reading

FCC Classifies Texting as an Information Service

On December 12, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted a Declaratory Ruling that finds Short Messaging Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) are “information services” under the Communications Act and that these services are not “telecommunications services” or “commercial mobile services”.  As a result, SMS/MMS won’t be subjected to the regulatory … Continue Reading

The FCC Sets the Wheels in Motion to Clear More Spectrum for 5G

At its December open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) took a significant step toward facilitating the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless advanced services. For those still wondering what exactly 5G is, we have written about the highly touted mobile broadband technology several times, including here and here. The FCC has already cleared … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts TCPA Changes that Include (Very Limited) Safe Harbor

On December 12, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) adopted an order that creates a reassigned number database to help callers avoid Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) violations that can occur when telephone numbers get reassigned to new users. We covered some of the details in a previous CommLawBlog post when the FCC pre-released … Continue Reading

Legitimate Robocallers Rejoice: TCPA Compliance is About to Get (Slightly) Easier

Believe it or not, there are companies that make legitimate “robocalls,” and those companies strive to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you’ve received an appointment reminder from your doctor or dentist, a package delivery notification, or a school closure notification lately those messages were likely delivered to your phone using an … Continue Reading

Bipartisan TRACED Act Seeks to Reduce Robocalls

Before Thanksgiving, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation aimed at decreasing the number of unwanted robocalls. The TRACED Act would expand FCC authority under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), empower the FCC to mandate call authentication rules for voice service providers to cut down on caller ID spoofing, and create an interagency working … Continue Reading

FCC Streamlines Hearing Aid Compatibility Reporting Requirements for Service Providers

On November 16, 2018, the FCC released a Report and Order amending the hearing aid compatibility (“HAC”) reporting requirements for wireless service providers. In short, the order changes the emphasis for disseminating HAC information to consumers from FCC reports to service provider websites, requiring service providers to post additional information on their websites about the … Continue Reading

FCC Acts to Speed 5G Rollouts

In a much ballyhooed action on September 26, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) took another stride in its effort to clear away regulatory and administrative obstacles to 5G cell site construction via the issuance of a Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order in a proceeding titled “In the Matter of Accelerating Wireless … Continue Reading

FCC Activates DIRS for Hurricane Florence; Postpones DIRS Exercise

The FCC issued a Public Notice activating its Disaster Information Reporting Service (DIRS) as Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is set to make landfall in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic regions causing catastrophic flooding, high winds, and heavy rains. Broadcasters and other communications providers in those regions are encouraged to voluntarily supply certain filings with … Continue Reading

EAS and WEA National Tests Scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20; ETRS Form 1 due Aug. 27

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the FCC have announced Thursday, Sept. 20 at 2:20 p.m. EDT as the scheduled date and time for this year’s annual nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). (Note that unlike the past two years, the scheduling date is on a Thursday, not a Wednesday as some … Continue Reading
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