Telecom Alert: 4.9 GHz Band Framework Adopted; $62M EBB Penalty; Data Breach Reporting Rules Pleading Cycle; Quarterly Tower Inspection Waiver [Vol. XX, Issue 4]
4.9 GHz Band Framework Adopted
Last week, the FCC adopted a Seventh Report and Order and Ninth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking establishing a comprehensive and coordinated nationwide band manager framework for overseeing the 4.9 GHz band (Vol. XIX, Issue 35). The band manager will be selected based on its expertise and connection to the public safety community and will coordinate operations in the band to ensure that non-public safety use remains fully secondary to public safety operations. The Order also modifies the Commission’s rules to allow for the collection of granular data on public safety operations in the 4.9 GHz band. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (email@example.com; 202.434.4178) or Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
$62 Million EBB Program Forfeiture
Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against Q Link Wireless LLC (“Q Link”) for violating the FCC’s rules governing the reimbursements it claimed for providing Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB Program”) customers with internet-connected devices. According to the Notice, Q Link provided customers with a Scepter 8 tablet, which was not commercially available to retail customers. Q Link then made reimbursement claims from the EBB Program for the market value plus an additional co-pay charge for each device, obtaining at least $20,792,800 in improper disbursements between December 2021 and March 2022. Accordingly, the Commission proposes a penalty of $62,000,000 against Q Link for its apparent violations. For more information, please contact Casey Lide (email@example.com; 202.434.4186).
Data Breach Reporting Rules Pleading Cycle
The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to strengthen its rules for notifying customers and federal law enforcement of breaches of customer proprietary network information (“CPNI”) was published in the Federal Register on January 23 (Vol. XX, Issue 2). The Commission proposes expanding its definition of “breach” to include inadvertent disclosures of CPNI and requiring carriers to notify the FCC in addition to the Secret Service and FBI as soon as practicable after discovering a breach. Comments and reply comments are due February 22, 2023, and March 24, 2023, respectively. For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4234) or Sean Stokes (email@example.com; 202.434.4193).
Quarterly Tower Inspection Waiver Granted
Last week, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted American Electric Power Service Corporation’s (“AEP”) waiver of the Commission’s quarterly tower field inspection requirement. Under the FCC’s rules, the owner of any antenna structure registered with the FCC that has been assigned lighting specifications must inspect all automatic or mechanical control devices, indicators, and alarm systems every three months. However, any antenna structure monitored by a system with sufficient self-diagnostic features, as determined by the Bureau, is exempt from the quarterly inspection requirement. AEP’s monitoring system contained self-diagnostic features sufficient to render quarterly inspections unnecessary. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239) or Tim Doughty (email@example.com; 202.434.4271).
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