Telecom Business Alert – Net Neutrality Legislation and Congressional Hearings, Vol XII Issue 4

Date: Jan 26, 2015

Title: Net Neutrality Debate Continues, FirstNet “Kick-Off” Meeting, 911 Reliability Rules, FCC Goes Green – Part III, 800 MHz Rebanding Deadline Extension Requests

Net Neutrality Legislation and Congressional Hearings

On January 16, 2015, the Chairmen of the Senate and House Commerce Committees released a Discussion Draft of a bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934, which includes the major points in the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order that was overturned on appeal in 2014.  However, the draft bill limits the authority of the FCC to expand the bill’s net neutrality principles and forecloses potential rate and other Title II regulation of broadband Internet access service..  Last Wednesday, January 21, 2015, both the House and Senate held hearings on the Discussion Draft.  It is unlikely the Discussion Draft or the hearings will cause the FCC to defer voting on its net neutrality order that is expected to occur in late February. For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FirstNet Federal Consultation “Kick-Off” Meeting in Washington, D.C.

On January 21, 2015, in Washington, D.C., the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) held its first meeting concerning the federal consultation process.  Under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, FirstNet is required to consult with federal, state, tribal, and local public safety entities to ensure the FirstNet network meets nationwide public safety needs.  During the meeting – attended by over a dozen federal departments – the First Net Board provided the federal departments and agencies with a better understanding of the consultation process and FirstNet’s future plans.  Later in 2015, FirstNet plans to meet with individual agencies to discuss specific needs.  For additional information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207). 

Proposed 911 Reliability Rules

Last week, the FCC announced the comment deadlines for its Policy Statement and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to strengthen its rules governing the reliability of 911 infrastructure.  The proposed rules expand those adopted by the FCC in 2013 in a number of ways. (Vol. XI, Issue 18).   For example, the new rules would expand the scope of entities subject to the FCC’s reliability rules to include all entities that provide 911, E911, or NG911 capabilities (including both wireline and wireless providers).  These Service Providers also would be required to notify the FCC and the public of major changes to network architecture as well as the scope of 911 services offered.  They also would be required to secure FCC approval to discontinue, reduce, or impair existing 911 services.  The two Republican Commissioners dissented from the NPRM, arguing that the FCC lacked jurisdiction to adopt the proposed rules.  Comments are due March 9th and Replies must be filed by April 7th.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

FCC Goes Green – Part III

As previously reported in our December 22, 2014 Telecom Business Alert, the FCC announced its implementation of its “paperless” enhancements to the Uniform Licensing System (ULS) and Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) system.  As explained in the Public Notice, the new enhancements do not become effective until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which occurred on January 16, 2015.  Accordingly, the paperless ULS and ASR enhancements will go into effect on February 17, 2015. 

Requests to Extend 800 MHz Rebanding Deadline

Earlier this month, the FCC issued an Order approving requests for further extensions of the June 26, 2008, deadline to complete rebanding in the 800 MHz band for non-border region licensees.  The Commission granted several requests by licensees that plan to complete rebanding by March 31, 2015.  For licensees requesting a date beyond March 31, 2015, the Commission granted partial waivers until March 31, 2015, either to complete rebanding or submit a further request for waiver seeking additional time.  For additional information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

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