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Reminder: EAS National Test Scheduled for Sept. 20, But Don’t Use EAS Tone Outside Test

Unless it is delayed by a real national emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the FCC are on track to conduct a combined nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Should you decide to air any news coverage or … 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

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

U.S. v. AT&T and Time Warner: The Death of the ‘Must-Have’ Programming Theory

In a decision issued Tuesday, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner. In doing so, he rejected the “must-have” programming theory that was the core of the government’s antitrust case seeking to block the merger. The “must-have” programming theory asserts … Continue Reading

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 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

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 Welcomes Blue to the EAS Family

Last week the FCC unanimously adopted a new member to the Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) family: the “Blue Alert.” Transmitted through the broadcast EAS and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) systems, the Blue Alert is a voluntary alert code that can be used by state and local authorities to alert the public of credible “threats to … Continue Reading

CMRS Rules Get an FCC Facelift – Say Goodbye to Sections 20.7 and 20.9

Chairman Pai and the FCC last week continued their campaign of revamping FCC rules, this time by adopting a Report and Order tackling the Commission’s Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS). The Order deletes Sections 20.7 and 20.9 of the Commission’s rules and is intended to generally eliminate an “outdated and incomplete list of certain services” … Continue Reading

One Small Step for Cell Sites: FCC Finds that Replacing Utility Poles is Unlikely to Affect Historical Properties

The Federal Communications Commission has taken a very tiny step toward eliminating unnecessary obstacles to the installation of communications facilities on existing structures without triggering historic review obligations. For the last year, the FCC has been reviewing the various regulatory obstacles that are hindering, delaying, and making more expensive the process of establishing new cell … Continue Reading

Do You Know Where Your Domain Names Are?

At CommLawBlog, we follow domain name issues closely. Unlike lightning, we find two recurring problems striking regularly. These problematic issues are: the failure to renew domain names and a continuing tendency to register valuable domain names in someone else’s name. While both may seem innocuous, they can cause major problems down the line.  Let’s took … 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

The FCC Seeks Comment on 911 Access in Enterprise Communications Systems

Last week, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment on a variety of issues related to 911 capabilities and Enterprise Communications Systems (ECS). While you may not be familiar with the term “Enterprise Communications Systems,” you are certainly familiar with the concept. As the FCC’s NOI explains, ECS are telecommunications systems that … Continue Reading

Autonomous Vehicles, 2.0: A Conversation with George Soodoo

The Trump Administration recently took some major steps toward providing a regulatory framework that encourages the safe development, testing, and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Several weeks ago, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao released Automated Driving Systems 2.0 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a document aimed at supporting automotive industry innovators in the … Continue Reading

Fletcher, Heald, & Hildreth Joins Competitive Carriers Association

October 2, 2017– Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications, and broadcasting law firm, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth (“FHH”), today announced it is a new member of Competitive Carriers Association. FHH provides comprehensive legal services for the technology, telecommunications, and media industries, partnering with clients on transformative deals and innovative solutions to cutting-edge business issues and regulatory concerns. FHH … Continue Reading

Busy Times Lie Ahead in Telecom as Pai Lays Out Modernization Plans

As we wrote about last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is planning to make some major overhauls at the FCC. Eight months into his term, Pai is preparing to “modernize [the FCC’s] rules to match the realities of today’s marketplace.” At this year’s National Broadcast Association’s Radio Show, Pai announced he would present to his … Continue Reading
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