Telecom Alert: 3.45 GHz Band; FCC to Share Outage Information; Comment Sought on Emergency Connectivity Fund; Lifeline Marketplace Inquiry [Vol. XVIII, Issue 12]
3.45 GHz Band Open for 5G Auction
At its March Open Meeting last week, the FCC adopted a Second Report and Order that would make mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for auction to facilitate 5G development (Vol. XVIII, Issue 9). The Report and Order makes 100 megahertz of spectrum in the band available for flexible use wireless services throughout the contiguous United States. It also adopts a cooperative sharing regime with incumbent Department of Defense (DoD) licensees where non-federal systems generally will have unencumbered, full-power use of the entire band. The FCC also released an accompanying Public Notice seeking comment on competitive bidding procedures for the auction (Auction 110). Bidding in Auction 110 is expected to begin in early October 2021. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (email@example.com; 202.434.4178).
FCC to Share Communications Outage Information State, Federal Agencies
The FCC adopted a Second Report and Order last week establishing a framework for sharing communications outage information with state, federal, and Tribal nation agencies to enhance their ability to respond more quickly to outages affecting their communities. Specifically, the Report and Order authorizes “need to know” agencies to share confidential information derived from NORS and DIRS filings with non-credentialed individuals at the participating agency and at non-participating agencies on a strict need to know basis. It also allows recipients to release aggregated and anonymized NORS and DIRS information to the public and offer guidance on how that should be performed. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
FCC Requests Comments for Implementing the $7.171 Billion Emergency Connectivity Fund
Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice requesting comment on the rules and procedures to implement the $7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund (Vol. XVIII, Issue 11) (the “Fund”) that Congress directed the FCC to finalize within sixty (60) days of enactment of the American Rescue Plan (the “Act”). The purpose of the Fund is to bridge the so-called “Homework Gap” exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic by extending broadband service to students in homes lacking highspeed Internet access service. The Fund will reimburse schools and libraries participating in the E-rate program for 100% of the cost of broadband connectivity and eligible devices to the homes of students lacking broadband connectivity. USAC will administer the Fund. Comments are due on April 5, 2025, and Reply Comments are due by April 23, 2021. For more information, please contact Douglas Jarrett (email@example.com; 202.434.4180).
FCC Seeks Comment on State of Lifeline Marketplace
Last week, the Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment on the state of the Lifeline marketplace to assist the Bureau in recommending to the FCC whether the Lifeline program’s transition to chiefly supporting broadband services should be completed. The Bureau’s report will include information on the prevalence of subscriptions to various service offerings in the Lifeline program, the affordability of both voice and broadband services, the pace at which voice and data usage has changed, minimum service standards, and the net benefits of continuing to support voice service as a standalone option. It also seeks comment on the intersection between the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and the Lifeline marketplace. Comments may be filed on or before April 19, 2021 and reply comments on or before May 4, 2021. For more information, please contact Douglas Jarrett (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4180).