Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VI Issue 33

Date: Aug 24, 2009

Volume VI, Issue 33

FCC Open Meeting This Thursday

The FCC will hold its next Open Meeting this Thursday, August 27. Agenda items include a Notice of Inquiry on fostering innovation and investment in wireless, and a Notice of Inquiry seeking information for the FCC's next annual report to Congress on the status of competition in the mobile wireless market, including commercial mobile services.


FCC Broadband Initiatives

The FCC is seeking comments on defining "broadband" for purposes of developing a National Broadband Plan under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on: (1) the form, characteristics and performance indicators to be included in a definition of "broadband;" (2) the thresholds for such performance indicators; and (3) how the definition should be reevaluated over time. Comments are due by August 31, and Reply Comments by September 8. The FCC is launching a new blog, "Blogband," that will focus on the development of a National Broadband Plan. The blog is available at http://blog.broadband.gov. The FCC will also be sending tweets regarding the National Broadband Plan through the platform Twitter, at http://www.twitter.com/fccdotgov.

FCC Investigates Apple's Rejection of Google Voice Application


On August 21, AT&T, Apple, and Google responded to letters of inquiry from the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau as to how Apple and, possibly, AT&T decided to prohibit Google's mobile VoIP application from being downloaded onto Apple's iPhones (see Vol. VI, Issue 30). Apple contended that it did not reject the application, but that it appears to alter the iPhone's "distinctive user experience" by replacing the Apple user interface with its own user interface. AT&T indicated that it had no role in Apple's decision, and that AT&T does not block access to websites where applications could be downloaded. Google described the application and other Google applications that Apple has approved for the iPhone, but requested confidential treatment of its explanations for Apple's rejection of the Google application and communications between the parties. Copies of the responses are available on the FCC's website at www.fcc.gov.


FY 2009 Regulatory Fee Payments Due September 22


As previously reported (see Vol. VI, Issue 31), the FCC recently released its Fiscal Year 2009 Schedule of Regulatory Fees. Licensees of certain facilities, such as Satellite Earth Stations, must make annual regulatory fee payments by September 22, 2009. 


Petition for Equal Telecom Attachment Rates

AEP, Duke, Southern and Xcel filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling last week seeking the same pole attachment rate for VoIP telephone service as is currently charged for traditional telecom services. This Petition follows Comments filed by K&H last month on behalf of the Coalition of Concerned Utilities explaining why at a minimum the telecom rate should apply to all attachers offering broadband services. If your electric utility would like to join the Coalition in supporting this Petition, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com).