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Telecom Alert: 911 Fee Diversion Rules; FCC Adopts Rip-and-Replace NPRM; CA PUC Adopts Telecommunications Resiliency Rules; Republican Broadband Connectivity Agenda; C-Band Bidding Ends; KH Webinar [Vol. XVIII, Issue 8]

FCC Proposes 911 Fee Diversion Rules

At its Open Meeting on February 17, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing rules to address 911 fee diversion in accordance with the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020 (Vol. XVIII, Issue 5).  The proposed rules would define the types of 911 fee expenditures that are acceptable, allow states and jurisdictions to petition the FCC to treat non-designated expenditures as acceptable, prohibit states or jurisdictions identified as a fee diverter from serving on any advisory committee established by the FCC, and require any state or jurisdiction that receives a federal 911 grant to provide certain required information.  The FCC will also establish a committee to study 911 fee diversion and develop recommendations to Congress to end the practice.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239). 

FCC Adopts Rip-and-Replace NPRM

The FCC adopted a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its February Open Meeting to modify its Secure and Trusted Network Reimbursement Program rules in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.  The Commission seeks comment on rules regarding the acceptable uses of reimbursement program disbursements, eligibility of certain equipment and services, and modifications to the prioritization scheme in the event that requests for reimbursement exceed the $1.895 billion appropriation.  The Third NPRM also proposes raising the cap on eligibility for participation in the program and modifying the scope of the eligible equipment and services.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).  

California PUC Adopts Telecommunications Resiliency Rules

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a Decision on February 18 requiring telephone service providers, including VoIP providers, that are located in Tier 2 and Tier 3 high fire threat districts to develop comprehensive resiliency strategies to prepare for catastrophic disasters and power outages.  These strategies include backup power, redundancy, network hardening, and temporary facilities, among others.  In its decision, the CPUC explicitly asserts jurisdiction over VoIP service.  The decision also requires such providers to maintain 72 hours of operational capability in the event of a disaster or an electric grid failure.  For more information, please contact Casey Lide (lide@khlaw.com; 202.434.4186).  

House Republicans Introduce Broadband Connectivity Agenda

House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking minority member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and communications and technology subcommittee ranking minority member Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced a package of 28 Republican-sponsored bills last week aimed at boosting investment in broadband infrastructure deployment.  The sponsors claim that the bills would promote new and upgraded infrastructure deployments, promote competition through collocation and modifications to existing infrastructure, streamline the permitting process by removing unnecessary or duplicative environmental and historical preservation barriers, and facilitate broadband deployment on federal lands.  One of the bills would also “prohibit a State or political subdivision thereof from providing or offering for sale to the public retail or wholesale broadband internet access service.”  For more information, please contact Jim Baller (baller@khlaw.com; 202.434.4175) or Kathleen Slattery-Thompson (slattery@khlaw.com; 202.434.4244). 

C-Band Bidding Ends

Bidding in the assignment phase of the C-Band auction (Auction 107) concluded last week, ending all bidding in the auction (Vol. XVIII, Issue 5).  All 5,684 of the licenses offered were won, generating over $81 billion in gross proceeds and delivering 280 MHz of mid-band spectrum for 5G.  The FCC will release a closing Public Notice that provides official notification to winning bidders, specified deadlines for payments and long-form applications, and provides details for other post-auction procedures.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239). 

KH Webinar – Broadband Grant and Subsidy Programs

Join Keller and Heckman Senior Counsel and Partners Doug Jarrett, Casey Lide, and Wes Wright on Thursday March 4, 2021 as they host the second installment of the K&H Telecom Webinar Series: “How to Take Advantage of Recently Enacted Broadband Grant and Subsidy Programs, and What’s on the Horizon.”  The K&H Telecom Series will broadcast live at 2:00 p.m. EST every other Thursday from February 18 to May 13, 2021.  Click here to register.