Telecom Alert: 900 MHz Applications; NG911 Waiver Process Request; FWHA Memo; 4.9 GHZ Band Stay Draft Order; EBB Launch Date [Vol. XVIII, Issue 18]
FCC to Begin Accepting 900 MHz Applications
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released a Public Notice last week announcing that it will begin accepting 900 MHz broadband segment applications. In May 2020, the FCC realigned the 900 MHz band to make available six megahertz of low-band spectrum for the development of critical wireless broadband technologies and services, while reserving the remaining four megahertz of spectrum for continued narrowband operations (Vol. XVII, Issue 20). All 900 MHz broadband segment applicants must demonstrate in their overall application that they satisfy the eligibility conditions and submit a plan for transition in the particular county requested, among other requirements. The opening date for acceptance of 900 MHz broadband segment applications will be on May 27, 2021. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4178) or Wes Wright (email@example.com; 202.434.4239).
ATIS Seeks NG911 Waiver Process
The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry (“ATIS”) filed a Request for Commission Action with the FCC last week seeking a waiver of several of the Commission’s rules pertaining to NG911 outage reporting. Specifically, ATIS asks the FCC to establish a streamlined process for waiver of Sections 4.5(e) and 4.7(e) covered by 911 service providers operating on NG911 systems based on the NENA i3 architecture standard. ATIS states that with the implementation of NENA i3 systems, service providers are no longer able to determine assigned telephone number counts for potential outage reporting, and that extrapolating the extent of an outage using census data would serve as a suitable alternative. ATIS urges the FCC to adopt a streamlined waiver process to allow providers using NENA i3 to utilize census data rather than the number of assigned telephone numbers to calculate the number of user minutes potentially affected by an outage. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
FWHA Memo on Clean Energy and Connectivity Projects
The Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) issued a Memorandum last week providing guidance to FHWA field offices on how they should work with state departments of transportation to encourage and support Clean Energy and Connectivity (“CEC”) projects. The FHWA states that CEC projects do not need to pay fair market rent or other fees for access to federally-supported state right-of-way (“ROW”) and facilities in either of two circumstances: (1) if a state defines and treats the projects as a “utility,” the state can set rents and fees at its discretion; and (2) if the FHWA finds that access to the ROW for a non-transportation purpose is in the public interest, will not impair use of the ROW for transportation purposes, and is for a social, environmental, or economic purpose, the FHWA can approve a state’s proposal to charge rents or fees at below fair market value. IT also states that CEC projects are in the public interest. For more information, please contact Jim Baller (email@example.com; 202.434.4175).
4.9 GHZ Band Stay Draft Order Circulated
Last week, a draft order was circulated among the FCC Commissioners that would stay the 4.9 GHZ Band Order that it adopted in September 2020. In the Order, the Commission adopted rules permitting expanded use of 50 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 4.9 GHZ band, allowing one statewide band licensee per state to lease some or all of its spectrum rights to third parties. Following the Order’s adoption, several public safety groups asked the FCC to stay the order to avoid harm to current and prospective public safety users. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
EBB Launch Date
The FCC released a Public Notice last week announcing the launch of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB Program”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 9). Starting on May 12, 2021, providers can begin enrolling eligible households into the EBB program and households will also be able to check their eligibility by using the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier consumer portal. Between now and the start date, the FCC encourages partners and participating providers to conduct outreach efforts so that every eligible household knows about the program and how to sign up. For more information, please contact Casey Lide (email@example.com; 202.434.4186) or Doug Jarrett (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4180).