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Telecom Alert—New 6GHz Band Rules; E911 Petition for Emergency Declaratory Ruling; House Bill to Accelerate RDOF Funding; 5G Fund for Rural America Pleading Cycle; Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship; FCC, CARES Act–Vol. XVII, Issue 22

Date: Jun 01, 2020

Compliance Alert: 6GHz Band 

The Commission’s Report and Order permitting unlicensed operations on 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band has been published in the Federal Register last week, setting an effective date for the new rules on July 27, 2020 (Vol. XVII, Issue 17).  In anticipation of the opening of the band to unlicensed use, an automated frequency coordination system will rely on licensed data from the Universal Licensing System to calculate interference potential.  Accordingly, incumbent licensees should audit existing 6 GHz microwave systems to ensure that site-specific information, such as coordinates and antenna height, is accurate.  The Commission’s Proposed Rule seeking to allow a new class of unlicensed devices to operate throughout the entire 6 GHz band at low power levels was also published in the Federal Register last week, setting the Comment and Reply Comment deadlines on June 29, and July 27, respectively.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).   

E911 Petition for Emergency Declaratory Ruling

Last week, Polaris Wireless, Inc. (Polaris) submitted a Petition for Emergency Declaratory Ruling requesting that the FCC reaffirm deadlines established for z-axis location accuracy requirements for wireless E911 calls and dismiss alternative proposals (Vol. XVI, Issue 47).  In adopting location accuracy metrics, the Commission imposed a deadline on carriers to extend such capabilities to 80 percent of calls in the top 25 markets by April 3, 2021.  Polaris argues that to meet the April 2021 deadline the FCC needs to reaffirm that the Order stands as written and that alternative proposals will not be considered.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

House Introduces Bill to Accelerate RDOF Funding

Last Wednesday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) introduced H.R.7022, which directs the FCC to take certain actions to accelerate the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I Auction (Vol. XVII, Issue 21).  Specifically, the bill calls on the Commission to expedite the allocation of funds to bidders with “shovel-ready” broadband projects that commit to start building gigabit fiber broadband networks within six months and deploy service within one year.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

5G Fund for Rural America Pleading Cycle

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing the pleading cycle for the NPRM it adopted last month that establishes the 5G Fund for Rural America (Vol. XVII, Issue 17).  The Universal Service Fund will distribute the $9 billion fund for the deployment of 5G networks in rural areas.  The Comment deadline is June 25, 2020, and the Reply Comment deadline is July 27, 2020.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship

President Trump issued an Executive Order last Thursday directing NTIA to file a petition for rulemaking with the FCC to clarify section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  Section 230 protects online platforms that do not engage in editorial conduct from civil liability for content posted on their sites.  The EO also calls on the administration to review its federal spending on advertising and marketing to paid platforms and the Attorney General to work with state and local governments to enforce their own laws against unfair or deceptive practices or acts.  For more information, please contact Tim Doughty (doughty@khlaw.com; 202.434.4271). 

FCC, IMLS Promote Awareness of CARES Act Funding

The FCC and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced a partnership to promote the use of $50 million in CARES Act funding allocated to help address the digital divide during the pandemic.  Museums, libraries, and organizations serving Tribal communities may utilize these funds to increase broadband access in their communities.  The Commission and IMLS will help conduct outreach to libraries and organizations serving Tribal communities regarding this funding and other IMLS resources available, as well as provide information on broadband service providers that may be able to help.  Applications are due June 12, 2020, with winners announced in August 2020.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).     

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Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert is a complimentary weekly electronic update created by the Telecommunications Practice Group of Keller and Heckman LLP.  All articles, videos, and quotations are on topics of general interest and do not constitute legal advice for particularized facts.  Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert © 2020.  All rights reserved.  Articles may be copied with attribution.  To sign up for our weekly alert, please send us an email at telecomalert@khlaw.com and provide us with your name and email.  Please follow us on twitter at @KHtelecom.