Telecom Alert: Affordable Connectivity Program Launch; FCC 6 GHz Order Upheld; 911 Fee Diversion Petitions Pleading Cycle; Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Petition [Vol. XIX, Issue 1]
Affordable Connectivity Program Launch
Last week, the FCC announced that on December 31, 2021, it launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (“Program”), the $14.2 billion successor program to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB Program”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 48). The Program will extend and supplant the EBB Program and continue to provide discounts on internet service and connected devices. Eligible households are now encouraged to apply for a broadband service discount of up to $30 per month, or up to $75 per month for households located on Tribal lands. Households that were enrolled in the EBB Program prior to December 30, 2021, will continue to receive the $50 per month subsidy through March 1, 2022. For more information, please contact Jim Baller (email@example.com; 202.434.4175) or Casey Lide (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4186).
DC Circuit Upholds FCC 6 GHz Order
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the FCC last week in its decision to make 1,200 MHz in the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use (Vol. XVII, Issue 17). In April 2020, the Commission adopted an Order authorizing two types of unlicensed operations: standard power in 850 MHz of the band and indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 MHz of the band. AT&T and other incumbents challenged the order, arguing that harmful interference could occur despite the FCC’s claims that it will protect against a significant risk of interference. In its ruling, the D.C. Circuit agreed that the Commission failed to adequately respond to radio and television incumbents that requested a sliver of the band remain exclusive for mobile licensees and remanded to the Commission for further explanation. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (email@example.com; 202.434.4239).
911 Fee Diversion Petitions Pleading Cycle
The Petitions for Reconsideration filed by the City and County of Denver and the Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Service (“BRETSA”) in response to the FCC’s 911 fee diversion order were published in the Federal Register on December 22 (Vol. XVIII, Issue 51). The City and County of Denver and 15 other 911 authorities asked the FCC to include a safe harbor provision for states with laws that comply with the FCC’s final rules and BRETSA argues that the Commission should provide a grace period to comply with the new rules. Oppositions to the petitions are due by January 6, 2022, and replies to oppositions are due by January 18, 2022. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Petition for Reconsideration
The FCC is seeking input on a Petition for Reconsideration filed by the Rural Wireless Association (“RWA”) in response to the FCC’s Third Report and Order amending its rules for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program (Vol. XVIII, Issue 28). The Order increased the customer eligibility cap for the program and modified the eligible equipment and services to all equipment and serviced produced or provided by Huawei or ZTE. Specifically, RWA is seeking reconsideration of the FCC’s decision to (1) rescind the sub-prioritization scheme that fully funded ETCs; (2) deny a general extension of the removal, replacement, and disposal term; and (3) prejudge reimbursement of VoLTE non-compatible handsets. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (email@example.com; 202.434.4178).