Archives: Telecommunications

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FCC Establishes Funds for Post-Hurricane Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The FCC on Tuesday announced the establishment of the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund and the Connect USVI Fund in an effort to help “rebuild, improve, and expand voice and broadband networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” These funds are part of the FCC’s ongoing efforts to rebuild communications networks in Puerto … Continue Reading

Let’s Try This Again – FCC Seeks Comments on TCPA/Robocall Issues Remanded By D.C. Circuit.

Like telemarketing “robocalls” that never seem to go away, the FCC’s attempts to clarify important and difficult statutory and regulatory issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) seem to constantly reoccur. Now the FCC is trying again, with a Public Notice seeking comments on: the definition of an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS), how … Continue Reading

FCC Enforces Regulations Against LED Signs

Those bright, colorful LED signs are up everywhere. They advertise gasoline prices, announce church services, and promote specials at the dry-cleaner. You can program them to say anything you want, with eye-catching animation. And sometimes they cause interference to radio communications. Wait — LED signs? CommLawBlog readers know all about radio interference from well pumps and fluorescent lights and (of course) bitcoin … Continue Reading

Changes Are Coming for the Key Frequency Band at 4 GHz

Radio spectrum and real estate have a lot in common. They’re not making any more of either; and for both, location really does matter. “Location,” for spectrum, means frequency. Much as different real estate locations best serve different purposes, different technological applications work best in different frequency ranges. Like prime downtown addresses, though, all the … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Temporary Freeze on Application Filings for Fixed-Satellite Earth Station Licenses and Other Satellites in the 3.7-4.2 GHz “C”- Band

Effective as of April 19, the Commission last week issued a Public Notice announcing a temporary freeze on the filing of new or modification applications for fixed-satellite (FSS) earth station licenses, receive-only earth station registrations, and fixed microwave licenses in the 3.7-4.2 GHz frequency band, known as the C-Band. Currently, the Commission has an ongoing … Continue Reading

CBRS: The Path Ahead

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) was originally envisioned as a true people’s broadband radio service – one that would be either free or highly affordable for small, locally-based operations of limited breadth and duration. The paradigm was a conscious break from the Metropolitan Statistical Area – or- larger sized service areas with 10-year renewable … Continue Reading

The FCC Looks Toward the Further Commercialization of the Educational Broadband Service

On the books for the FCC’s May Open Meeting will be a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding rule changes to establish commercial eligibility for Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licenses and to “rationalize” the EBS service areas. EBS is not a well-known radio service, so to appreciate the significance of these changes, a little history … Continue Reading

The FCC Moves to Accommodate Small Satellites

Satellites – even small ones – need radio spectrum. Without radios to communicate, a satellite is just a hunk of metal and plastic in the sky. The first man-made satellite, the Russian Sputnik in 1957, carried nothing but a radio transmitter. It sent a sequence of beeps that said: I am here. Early communications satellites … 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

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part IV: What’s Next – New FCC Rulemakings and Impact on Litigation

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases they serve a useful function, but they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order intended to broaden the number of calls subject … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Big Fines to Sprint and Mobilitie for Siting Violations

(But Doesn’t Offer Much Explanation as to Details or Guidance for Future Acceptable Action) On April 10, the FCC released Orders and associated Consent Decrees resolving investigations into alleged violations of the site registration and/or pre-construction environmental review procedures by Sprint and Mobilitie. In the past, the Commission has made it clear that it means … Continue Reading

Wrong Number!  D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part III: The Problem of Reassigned Phone Numbers

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … Continue Reading

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part II: Revocation of Consumer Consent

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … Continue Reading

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part I: The Debate Over Defining ‘Autodialer’

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … Continue Reading

Above 95 – FCC Hits the Stratosphere

The FCC voted today to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order looking toward issuing licenses for frequencies above 95 GHz. That’s GigaHertz, not MegaHertz – way up there, beyond the highest frequencies that are commonly used today, at least by the private sector. Historically, frequencies this high were not considered useful for communication … Continue Reading

FCC Officially Publishes Net Neutrality Rollback Rule; Will Take Effect on April 23

Well, it’s official: the Open Internet rule, better known as Net Neutrality, will go bye-bye starting April 23. Today, the hotly debated final notice of the Open Internet Rule (better known as Net Neutrality) was published in the Federal Register. Net neutrality goes away as of April 23 except for certain provisions that require review … Continue Reading

FCC Annual CPNI Certifications Are Back After One Year Off – Due March 1

It’s that time of year again! (Well, again after a one-year hiatus, that is.) Time for our annual reminder that the annual customer proprietary network information (CPNI) certifications are due by March 1 for most (but not necessarily all) telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers. CPNI includes a variety of sensitive customer data such as, … Continue Reading

Noncommercial Stations Beware: When ‘Underwriting’ Spots Turn into Advertising, a Big Penalty Can Follow

Many noncommercial educational (NCE) stations – and their lawyers – were caught by surprise last week when the FCC issued a $115,000 civil penalty against an NCE licensee. The Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) was hit for running underwriting spots promoting for-profit entities. CCF agreed to the monetary penalty as part of an FCC approved consent … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Asked to Delay Implementation of Media Ownership Rules

As we previously reported, the deregulatory changes the FCC recently adopted to its media ownership rules are due to take effect on Feb. 7. Prometheus Radio Project and Media Mobilizing Project, however, have filed an appeal of those rule changes in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and, as expected, have now … 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
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