Archives: Telecommunications

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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

Dates Announced for Comments on 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 … 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 Takes Initial Steps to Expand Broadband Capabilities to Combat COVID-19

In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has secured pledges from a growing list of major and minor broadband players to loosen billing rules and provide free access to existing public Wi-Fi hotspots. Some carriers are also waiving data caps. With increased reliance on telework as offices send workers home, online … Continue Reading

Homeland Security Issues Access Letter to Broadcasters and Telecoms

Earlier this week, the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), issued multiple letters that will provide the bearer access to: restricted areas and times (such as during curfews) if necessary to access communications equipment to ensure continued service; and priority access to fuel for generators and debris … Continue Reading

Clarifying Statements from “Unfinished Business in the RHC Program” Webinar

While press coverage is always welcome, and while most trade reporters are thorough and careful in their reporting, occasionally one must address a situation where a reporter has wildly misunderstood what was said.  That is the case with the Broadband Breakfast article concerning my remarks during an open webinar put on by the Schools, Health … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for January – March

Broadcast Deadlines: January 31, 2020 Biennial Ownership Reports – All licensees and entities holding an attributable interest in a licensee of one or more AM, FM, TV, Class A television, and/or Low Power TV (LPTV) stations must file a biennial ownership report reflecting information as of October 1, 2019. Please recall that not only corporations … Continue Reading

Dates Announced for Rules Mandating Vertical Location Information in 911 Calls

On November 26, 2019, we wrote about rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to help locate callers in terms of not only the street address but also a caller’s vertical location within a multi-story building, asking “Which Door Should First Responders Kick In?” The new rules were published in the Federal Register on … Continue Reading

Radiofrequency Exposure Limits Revised: FCC Proposes Expanding Rules to Cover Higher Frequencies

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has resolved many of the issues that it has been considering since 2013 with respect to limits on exposure of human beings to radiofrequency (“RF”) energy. An important aspect of the decision is that existing exposure limits will not be tightened. However, the environmental rules dealing with RF exposure have … 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

In an Emergency: Which Door Should First Responders Kick In?

About 80% of the 240 million phone calls received by 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs) come from wireless callers. The goal of regulators is that technology automatically identify the location of callers even if callers don’t know where they are or are unable to speak the information because of injury or constraint by an … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for December – February

  Broadcast Deadlines: December 1, 2019 License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations licensed in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of the license. These announcements must be continued on December 16, January 1, and January 16.… Continue Reading

Selected New Developments in Broadband – November

Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead. Attention is on smaller pieces of bi-partisan legislation addressing unwanted robocalls, narrowly targeted funding for “digital dead zones,” and mapping. Targeted infrastructure funding is partly addressed by a Senate appropriations bill that devotes … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – October

Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead.  Attention now is on smaller but important pieces of bi-partisan broadband legislation such as the Secure and Trusted Communications Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on September 24.  The bill would prohibit … Continue Reading

New Developments in Broadband – September

Capitol Hill House Democrats’ “Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act” (LIFT America Act) –containing $40 billion dedicated for broadband, largely through reverse auctions – remains pending.  While prospects for significant federal spending on a new broadband program remain in limbo, Congress has allocated further funding to the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) ReConnect funding … Continue Reading

Finding Out Where You Are When You Call 911

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted new rules requiring manufacturers, importers, vendors, installers and managers of multi-line telephone systems (“MLTS”) to configure those systems to provide automated location information (called “dispatchable location”) and a location-specific callback number when a caller makes an emergency call to 911, at least to the extent feasible using technology … 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

Welcoming Elizabeth Craig to Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C.

Washington-area based telecommunications, media, and technology law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Craig has joined the firm as an Associate. A recent law school graduate from American University’s Washington College of Law, Elizabeth interned with the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Mobility Division in 2018.… Continue Reading

Reminder: EAS National Test Scheduled for August 7

Unless it is delayed by a real national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) and the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) are on track to conduct a combined nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, August 7, at 2:20 p.m. EDT.  For most participants, this year’s test will be disseminated only using the broadcast … Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for August – October

Broadcast Deadlines: August 1, 2019: License Renewal Pre-Filing Announcements – Radio stations located in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands must begin broadcasts of their pre-filing announcements with regard to their applications for renewal of the license.  These announcements must be continued on August 16, September 1, and September 16.… Continue Reading
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