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Telecom Alert: Priority Filing Window for EBB Program; 911 Fee Diversion Pleading Cycle; $7.6 Billion Remote Learning Fund; Form 477 Filing Interface Reopens [Vol. XVIII, Issue 10]

Priority Application Filing Window for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Begins March 8

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week establishing the priority application window for broadband service providers looking to participate in the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB Program” or “Program”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 9).  This window extends from March 8, 2021 to March 22, 2021.  If its application is approved by the FCC, a broadband service provider will be authorized to enroll households in the EBB Program as the enrollment period begins in late April, as currently projected by the FCC.  Applications filed after March 22 will be reviewed but not necessarily granted before the enrollment begins.  To participate in the Program, broadband service providers must have either (i) provided broadband service as of December 1, 2020, or (ii) offered broadband service (that meets several conditions) to low-income households or households impacted by Covid-19 as of April 1, 2020.  Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (“ETCs”) intending to participate in the EBB Program solely within their ETC service areas are automatically eligible and only need to file an Election Notice with USAC beginning March 11, 2021.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180). 

911 Fee Diversion Rules Pleading Cycle

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed rules addressing 911 fee diversion that the FCC adopted last month was published in the Federal Register last week (Vol. XVIII, Issue 8).  The proposed rules would, among other things, define acceptable 911 fee expenditures and prohibit states or jurisdictions identified as a fee diverter from serving on any FCC advisory committee.  Comments are due March 23, 2021, and reply comments are due April 2, 2021.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).  

Senate Passes $7.6 Billion Remote Learning Fund

Over the weekend the U.S. Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package bill proposed by President Biden, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), which would appropriate $7.6 billion for an Emergency Connectivity Fund to support remote learning during the pandemic.  The Fund would support the provision of connected devices, Internet service, and hotspots by schools and libraries to students, teachers, and library patrons.  Once signed into law, the FCC would have 60 days to promulgate rules under its E-Rate authority to distribute the funds.  For more information, please contact Tim Doughty (doughty@khlaw.com; 202.434.4271).  

Form 477 Filing Interface Reopens

The FCC released a Public Notice last week announcing that the FCC’s Form 477 filing interface has been reopened.  The interface had been closed since February 22 due to significant and unanticipated technical issues.  Filers who submitted their Form 477 filings prior to February 21, 2021 do not need to take any further action.  Most filers who started the filing process prior to the closing of the site do not need to re-upload any files or re-enter any records.  The new deadline for filing Form 477 data as of December 31, 2020, is March 15, 2021.  For more information, please contact Kathleen Slattery-Thompson (slattery@khlaw.com; 202.434.4244).