Telecom Alert: 911 Outage Reporting NPRM; FCC Application Fee Order; Increasing Broadband Service Access Bill; Text-to-988 FNPRM; EBB Program Testing [Vol. XVIII, Issue 17]
911 Outage Reporting NPRM
The FCC adopted a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its April Open Meeting seeking comment on proposed rules to change 911 outage reporting (Vol. XVIII, Issue 14). The Commission’s proposal would require certain providers to report network outages to both the FCC and potentially affected customers as soon as possible, but no later than 60 minutes within discovering 911 service is unavailable. The proposed changes would also obligate providers to maintain accurate contact information for 911 call centers to promote closer coordination of outage information and restoration efforts. The Commission also seeks comment on requiring how providers should notify potentially affected customers when 911 is unavailable and suggests requiring providers to include this information on their websites and Internet-related applications, such as their mobile apps. If adopted, the proposal also could revise the FCC’s 911 Reliability Certification obligations. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
FCC Application Fee Order
Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the new FCC filing fees that were published in the Federal Register on March 19 in its Application Fee Report and Order are not yet in affect. While the Report and Order generally became effective on April 19, 30 days after publication, the new fee rates will not become effective until notice has been provided to Congress, the FCC’s information technology systems and internal procedures have been updated, and the Commission publishes notice in the Federal Register announcing the effective date. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (email@example.com; 202.434.4178).
Increasing Broadband Service Access Bill Introduced
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Promoting Access to Broadband Act on April 13 that would increase access to broadband service for low-income urban and rural citizens. The Act would authorize an unspecified level of appropriation for grants to states to inform covered individuals of potential eligibility for the Lifeline program. The funds could be used for a variety of enrollment efforts, including providing these individuals with information on how to apply for the Lifeline program and partnering with non-profit and community-based organizations to provide individuals with assistance applying. It would also require the FCC to issue a report to Congress within a year of establishing the grant program evaluating its effectiveness. For more information, please contact Casey Lide (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4186).
The FCC voted to approve a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its April Open Meeting seeking comment on rules intended to expand access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (the “Lifeline”) by establishing texting to 988 (Vol. XVIII, Issue 15). The proposed rules would require covered text providers to route text messages sent to 988 to the Lifeline. The Lifeline “soft-launched” texting service in August 2020 and began responding to texts on the Lifeline’s toll-free number. Previously, the FCC established 988 as the 3-digit dialing code for Americans to reach the Lifeline by telephone beginning July 16, 2022. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (email@example.com; 202.434.4239).
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Testing
The FCC issued a News Release last week announcing that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program opened to participating broadband providers for testing (Vol. XVIII, Issue 9). The testing period is intended to allow providers to familiarize themselves with the Program system ahead of the consumer launch of the Program. For more information, please contact Casey Lide (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4186) or Doug Jarrett (email@example.com; 202.434.4180).