Telecom Alert: Sixth Circuit Rejects USF Rehearing; $1.4 Million USF Fine Proposed; 900 MHz Applications Granted; ECF Funding [Vol. XX, Issue 23]
Sixth Circuit Rejects Review of USF Decision
Last week, the Sixth Circuit issued an Order denying a petition to rehear its decision rejecting a constitutional challenge to the FCC’s authority to administer the Universal Service Fund (Vol. XX, Issue 13). In May, a Sixth Circuit panel rejected challengers’ claims that the USF violates the separation of powers by delegating the Commission taxing authority. In denying the petition, the Sixth Circuit noted that the issues raised in the petition were fully considered in the original submission and subsequent decision of the case, and no judge requested a vote on the suggestion for rehearing en banc. Three other circuits are currently considering similar cases. For more information, please contact Eric Gotting (email@example.com; 202.434.4269) or Jim Baller (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4175).
$1.4 Million USF Fine Proposed
The FCC issued Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture for $1,460,085 against PayG, LLC, d/b/a Skyswitch (“PayG”) for apparently failing to pay Universal Service Fund (“USF”), Telecommunications Relay Service Fund (“TRS Fund”) North American Numbering Plan (“NANP”), and federal regulatory fees. According to the Notice, PayG underreported revenues in its Annual Worksheets between 2018 and 2021 and repeatedly failed to cooperate with documentation production requirements, resulting in a failure to pay or pay fully the required obligations by the payment deadlines. The proposed fine is the first enforcement action since 2015 based on a newly adopted Order that vacates a 2015 Forfeiture Policy Statement announcing a treble damages methodology for these types of fee violations that was never put into practice. Accordingly, forfeiture penalties for payment violations in future adjudications can be adjusted based on the unique factors present in a case, resulting in fines more tailored to the circumstances of the case than those calculated using the treble damages methodology. For more information, please contact Jim Baller (email@example.com; 202.434.4175) or Casey Lide (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4186).
900 MHz Applications Granted
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week granting four 900 MHz broadband segment license applications (Vol. XX, Issue 15). The FCC realigned the 900 MHz band in May 2020 to make available six megahertz of low-band spectrum for the development of critical wireless broadband technologies and services, while reserving four megahertz of spectrum for continued narrowband operations. The application is from PDV Spectrum Holding Company, LLC for Pueblo County, Weld County, Broomfield County, and Denver County, Colorado. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (email@example.com; 202.434.4178).
The FCC announced that it is committing over $15 million in a new funding round through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (the “Program”). The commitment will support applications from the first and third filing windows and will support approximately 35,000 students in states including California, Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, and Pennsylvania. To date, the Program has provided support to roughly 11,000 schools, 1,000 libraries, and 120 consortia. For more information, please contact Casey Lide (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4186).
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