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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

FCC Streamlines Pole Attachment Rules to Promote Broadband Deployment

On Aug. 3 the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling which streamlined pole attachment procedures and preempted state and local laws regulations, and policies imposing a moratoria on telecommunications deployment. The FCC’s actions seek to speed the process and reduce costs associated with new utility pole attachments to facilitate broadband … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Telecom and Broadcast Deadlines July–August 2018

Do you know what FCC telecom and broadcast deadlines are approaching? We do. Time to mark up your calendars so you’re not late on these important deadlines. Call FHH at (703)812-0400 if you have trouble meeting these deadlines or need assistance. Telecom Deadlines: July – No scheduled reporting/ certification deadlines for this month. August 1, 2018 – … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Says Warrant Needed to Grab Cellphone Location Data

Just when you think you have a beat on the Supreme Court, they always seem to surprise you. Take the decision issued in Carpenter v. U.S., issued last Friday, June 22. The court held that a judicial warrant, based on probable cause, is required before law enforcement officials can call up your cellphone company and … Continue Reading

Multi-Line Telephone Systems and Enterprise Communications Systems; Kari’s Law and Other 911-Related Developments

Earlier this year, the President signed into federal law the Kari’s Law Act of 2017, a measure aimed at ensuring multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) users can directly access emergency personnel by dialing 911 without first dialing an access code. As you’ve probably observed, the passage of this new federal law was somewhat bittersweet, as the … Continue Reading

$40 Million FCC Settlement with T-Mobile for Rural Call Completion Issues Signal of Things to Come

Callers placing long distance calls to rural areas have, at times, experienced difficulties in having their calls go through. This occurs most often in rural areas where the costs incurred by long distance providers have generally been higher than in non-rural areas. In 2012, the FCC issued a declaratory ruling which determined that carriers that … Continue Reading

White House Deliberates Centralized 5G Network Proposal

Telecommunications companies today got a rude awakening when Axios broke news that the Trump administration is considering a recommendation to centralize and build a 5G wireless network. According to multiple news outlets, members of the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) presented senior White House officials with recommendations to centralize the United States’ 5G network in … Continue Reading

FCC Grants Request by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth to Revise Post-Auction Broadcast Transition Phase Assignments and Deadlines for Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Wake of Hurricane Maria

January 16, 2018 – Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth is proud to announce that, through its efforts, the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau division on Jan. 11, 2018 granted a request to allow 20 broadcast TV stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to construct post-incentive auction facilities early. The … Continue Reading

FCC Begins Process for Permitting Collocations on Twilight Towers

On Dec.14, the FCC released a Public Notice unveiling a draft Program Comment that will supposedly resolve the longstanding issues surrounding collocating equipment on so-called “Twilight Towers.” Twilight Towers have been stuck in limbo as a result of an ambiguity in the Commission’s rules. Since 2001, the Commission has had rules in place that require … Continue Reading

I Know You Called: FCC Approves New Rules Permitting Disclosure of Blocked Caller IDs For Threatening Calls

If you’re a traditional landline user who grew up prank calling friends, you’re probably familiar with the dialing code *67, which blocked the outgoing Caller ID information from being transmitted to the call recipient. But you probably didn’t know that, under one of the FCC’s privacy rules, your decision to block your Caller ID transmission … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Market-Based Changes to Toll Free Number Administration

On Sept. 28, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to permit the assignment of toll free numbers via alternative market-based approaches, including the auctioning of numbers. Furthermore, consistent with such a market-based approach, the Commission proposed the development of a secondary market allowing subscribers to reassign their … Continue Reading
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