Telecom Alert: Emergency Connectivity Fund Application Window; Connected Care Pilot Program; Equipment Authorizations NPRM; FCC Strengthens Emergency Alerting [Vol. XVIII, Issue 25]
Emergency Connectivity Fund Application Window
The FCC issued a News Release last week announcing that the Emergency Connectivity Fund (the “Fund”) application window will open on June 29 (Vol. XVIII, Issue 19). Established by the American Rescue Plan of 2021, the Fund will reimburse schools and libraries for purchasing laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections for off-campus students, school staff, and library patrons. Eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment during the filing window, which will be open from June 29 to August 13. For more information, please contact Casey Lide (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4186).
Connected Care Pilot Program
The FCC adopted a Public Notice at its June Open Meeting last Thursday approving 36 additional projects under its Connected Care Pilot Program (the “Program”) (Vol. XVII, Issue 45). Pilot projects will receive universal service support to offset 85% of qualifying costs, with the remaining 15% paid by the project recipients from eligible sources. Health care providers must also pay the costs of any ineligible expenses. Over $21 million in funding was approved during the second round. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (email@example.com; 202.434.4178).
Equipment Authorizations NPRM
The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry proposing rules that would prohibit all future authorizations for communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to national security. The proposal would prohibit the authorization of equipment through either the FCC’s Certification or Supplier’s Declaration of conformity equipment authorization process. The FCC also proposes to no longer exempt equipment on the Covered List published by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau from the equipment authorization requirements; the Commission currently exempts certain types of RF devices from demonstrating compliance with these procedures, some of which could potentially include covered devices. In regard to its competitive bidding rules, the Commission also seeks comment on whether to require applicants who wish to participate in FCC auctions to provide additional certifications related to national security. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4178).
FCC Strengthens Emergency Alerting
Last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that aims to improve how the public receives emergency alerts on their mobile phones, televisions, and radios (Vol. XVIII, Issue 22). The Report and Order encourages all states to form State Emergency Communications Committees or review the composition and governance of existing committees, as well as require certification of annual committee meetings. It also specifies that government agencies may report false emergency alerts to the FCC’s 24/7 Operations Center and clarifies how alert originators can repeat their alert transmissions. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on additional improvements to the Emergency Alert System recommended by FEMA. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (email@example.com; 202.434.4239).