Telecom Alert: Net Neutrality Rules Proposed; 6 GHz Unlicensed Use Updates; $50 Million ACP Repayment; WEA R&O [Vol. XX, Issue 40]
FCC Proposes Restoring Net Neutrality Rules
Last week, FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing rules to reestablish the Commission’s authority over broadband Internet access service (“BIAS”). Under the proposed rules, BIAS would be classified as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, and mobile BIAS would be classified as a commercial mobile service. The Commission will consider the NPRM at its Open Meeting on October 19, and, if approved, comments and reply comments will be due by December 14, 2023, and January 17, 2024, respectively. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (email@example.com; 202.434.4239), Casey Lide (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4186), or Tim Doughty (email@example.com; 202.434.4271).
6 GHz Unlicensed Use Rules
The FCC released a Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Memorandum Opinion and Order last week aimed at expanding unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band. If adopted, the Order would permit very low power devices to operate in two sub-bands without the use of an Automated Frequency Coordination system, while the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes permitting such devices to operate in the remainder of the band. The Memorandum Opinion and Order addresses a United States Court of Appeals remand concluding that claims of interference by broadcasters were unsubstantiated and do not warrant modification of the 6 GHz rules. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4178).
$50 Million ACP Repayment
Last week, the FCC announced that a major Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) provider has voluntarily repaid $49.4 million that it improperly claimed between June 2021 and July 2022. $44.5 million of the improper claims that were disclosed were related to low-income households that were not using the service as required by ACP rules. The provider also repaid $2.6 million for improper enrollments associated with the National School Lunch Program’s Community Eligibility Provision and $2.3 million for claims associated with other compliance issues. The Commission also released an advisory highlighting issues for participants to address and prevent further program losses. For more information, please contact Sean Stokes (email@example.com; 202.434.4293).
Wireless Emergency Alerts Report and Order
The FCC will consider a Report and Order at its October Open Meeting that would improve Wireless Emergency Alerts (“WEA”) by making messages available in different languages (Vol. XX, Issue 26). If adopted, the new rules would require participating wireless providers to translate WEA messages into the thirteen most commonly spoken languages in the United States in addition to English and American Sign Language. They would also require the inclusion maps that identify the location of an emergency and make it easier to conduct public-facing performance and public awareness tests. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
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