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Telecom Alert: ACP Winding Down; Reconsideration of Outage Reporting Rules; Pole Attachment Comment Deadline; GMRS Rule Waiver Comment Deadline [Vol. XXI, Issue 3]

FCC Announces Wind Down of ACP Program

The FCC announced that it expects to run out of money to fund the Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) in May of this year, absent further funding from Congress, and will begin taking steps to wind down the program. The ACP provides subsidies for Internet service to more than 23 million low-income households and includes approximately 1,700 Internet service providers offering the program discount.  The Commission will freeze ACP enrollments on February 8, 2024, and will require providers to give consumers specific, frequent notice about the projected end of the program.  For more information, please contact Casey Lide (; 202.434.4186).

Commenters Request Reconsideration of 911 and 988 Outage Reporting Rules

A number of trade groups and Intrado Life and Safety, Inc. filed comments responding to the FCC’s Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) Notice, claiming that the FCC had significantly underestimated the burden created by the its 911 and 988 Outage Reporting rules.  The commenters stated that the required “special diligence” to collect contact information from PSAPs was too vague and that the Commission had not accurately portrayed the amount of time and effort required to accomplish the task.  They also noted that the requirement to report outages within 30 minutes of discovery was too demanding and would result in over-notification.  The commenters requested the FCC grant the relief requested by the Common Carriers Association in a Petition for Reconsideration of the rules it had filed.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (; 202.434.4239) or Tim Doughty (; 202.434.4271).

Pole Attachment Comment Deadline Set

The comment deadline for the Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on pole attachments is set for February 13, and reply comments are due February 28.  The Further Notice concludes there is a need for the Commission to take action to facilitate the processing of pole attachment applications submitted in large numbers.  The Further Notice requests comment on modification of the Commission’s self-help rules and the impact of contractor availability when attachers use their own contractors.  Additionally, the accompanying Fourth Report and Order rules on reviewing and assessing pole attachment disputes take effect on February 12, except for two sections which are delayed indefinitely pending approval of the Office of Management and Budget.  For more information, please contact Tom Magee (; 202.434.4128), Sean Stokes (; 202.434.4193), or Tim Doughty (; 202.414.4271).

Comment Sought on GMRS Rule Waiver

Last week the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a waiver request filed by Garmin International, Inc. (“Garmin”).  Garmin requested a waiver of the Commission’s General Mobile Radio Service (“GMRS”) rules governing the 462 MHz band to permit Garmin to market certain hand-held devices that are capable of transmitting digital data once every five seconds, so long as the channel has not been used for voice communications in the previous 30 seconds and there is not an ongoing emergency situation.  The FCC’ rules limit GMRS data transmissions to one transmission every 30 seconds.  Garmin argued that permitting increased frequency of data transmissions will help locate individuals in areas with weak or no cellular reception.  Comments are due by February 12 and reply comments by February 27.  For more information, please contact Tim Doughty (; 202.434.4271).

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