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Telecom Alert – AT&T Consent Decree; FirstNet Audit; Farm Bill; Small Cell Legislation/Model Agreements; CAF II Reverse Auction; ACA Accessibility Waiver; ALERT Act - Vol. XV, Issue 27

Date: Jul 02, 2018

AT&T Consent Decree for 911 Outages

AT&T has entered into a Consent Decree to settle the FCC’s investigation into the 911 outages which occurred in March and May of 2017 (Vol. XIV, Issue 13).  In addition to paying a $5.25 million fine, the Consent Decree requires AT&T toimplement proactive system changes to reduce the likelihood and impact of future 911 outages, improve processes for notifying 911 call centers of any future outages, ensure reliable 911 call completion, and regularly file compliance reports with the FCC.”  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

FirstNet Audit

The Department of Commerce is proceeding with an audit to determine how well FirstNet is meeting the task of building a nationwide emergency network through its contract with AT&T.  The audit, being conducted by the Department’s Inspector General, was first announced in May.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Farm Bill Passes Senate

On June 28, the Senate approved H.R. 2, the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (also known as the “Farm Bill”) by a bipartisan vote of 86-11.  The bill, which passed the House of Representatives the previous week (Vol. XV, Issue 26), allocates $620 million for broadband deployment in rural areas through loans and grants including the Broadband Loan, Community Connect, Distance Learning and Telemedicine programs and a broadband pilot program (Vol. XV, Issue 20).  For more information, please contact Kathleen Slattery (slattery@khlaw.com; 202.434.4244).

Small Cell Legislation/Model Agreements

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Thune last week introduced the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S.3157) consistent with state legislation enacted in 20 states which would make it faster and less expensive for communications companies to access state and local government rights of way and poles to install small cell antennas.  Also last week, ranking Democratic FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel released “model” municipal small cell wireless agreements executed by the City of San Jose, California, containing numerous municipal-friendly provisions, including an annual attachment rate of $1500 per site, in an apparent effort to better guide municipalities.  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128) or Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

CAF II Reverse Auction: 220 Qualify

On June 25, the Commission released a Public Notice naming the 220 applicants qualified to bid in the Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) Auction (Auction 903) that is scheduled to begin on July 24, 2018.  In the auction, the Commission will make available just under $200 million per year for ten years to support fixed broadband service in unserved rural areas. (Volume XIV, Issue 32).  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180). 

Commission Seeks Comment on ACA Accessibility Waiver

The Commission issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a petition filed by the American Cable Association (ACA), which requests the Commissiongrant a waiver of the Commission’s rules requiring the accessibility of user interfaces on covered navigation devices for certain limited classes of multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems.”  Current FCC Rules require that on-screen text menus and guides provided by navigation devices for the display or selection of multichannel video programming be audibly available upon request by those who are blind or visually impaired.  ACA is requesting a waiver of the December 20, 2018 deadline for small and mid-sized systems that will be unable to comply “due to the unavailability of compliant solutions in the market that work for these systems.”  Comments and Reply Comments are due July 10 and July 20, respectively.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

ALERT Act Passes Senate

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed S. 2385, the Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats Act (“ALERT Act”).  The bill was introduced by Senator Schatz (D-HI) in January in response to the false missile alert which occurred in Hawaii (Vol. XV, Issue 4).  The bill would give the federal government the sole responsibility of alerting the public to a missile threat in an effort to prevent false alerts in the future.  The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

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